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A genealogy of 
morals 




Friedrich Wilhelm 



Nietzsche, 
Alexander Tille, .. 






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THE WORKS 



OF 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 

EDITED BY 

ALEXANDER TILLE 

Vol. X 
A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

TRANSLATED BY 

WILLIAM A. HAUSEMANN 
POEMS 

TRANSLATED BY 

JOHN GRAY 



Nrto Horfc 
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO.. Ltd, 

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CONTENTS 

* FAGI 

Introduction by the Editor ix 

A Genealogy of Morals . ; , . . ni 

Foreword niii 

First Essay: " Good and Evil," " Good and Bad " . . . 15 

Second Essay: "Guilt," "Bad Conscience," and the like 61 

Third Essay: What do Ascetic Ideals mean? . . . 127 

Poems 229 

Poems 1 871-1877 

1. To Melancholy 233 

2. After a Night-Storm 235 

3. The Wanderer 236 

4. To the Glacier 237 

5. Autumn 239 

6. Songs and Epigrams 241 

Maxims 1882-1885 

7. Warning: Poison 245 

8. The New Testament 245 

9. At Sight of a Dressing-Go wn 245 

10. A Roman Sigh 246 

11. The "Real German" 246 

12. Every Hunchback's Hump Grows Steeper . 246 

13. To Spinoza 246 

14. Arthur Schopenhauer 247 

15. To Richard Wagner 247 

16. To the Disciples of Darwin 248 

v 



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VI CONTENTS 

HOC 

17. The Hermit Speaks 248 

18. Whose Word will One Day Rise and Crash . . 248 

19. Rules of Life 248 

20. The Loveliest Body — but a Veil .... 249 

21. A Riddle 249 

22. The World Stands not Still 249 

23. With Wits Wit Well may Tricfcle .... 249 

24. Twas Here Gold Rolled 249 

25. From Diogenes his Tub 250 

26. Timon Says 250 

27. For False Friends 250 

28. The Word 250 

29. When Next thy Thought 251 

30. Decision 251 

31. All Eternal Founts of Meaning 252 

32. Concluding Stanza 252 

33. Dance of the Thoughts, Behold . . . .253 
Poems 1882-1S85 

34. The Honey-Offering 257 

35. Zeal and Genius 257 

36. To the Ideal 257 

37. To Friendship 358 

38. Pia, Caritatevolt, Amoresissima .... 258 

39. The Little Brig Called "Angelihe" . . . .259 

40. Maiden Song 261 

41. Desperate 262 

42. Human, AH - to u- Hum an 262 

43. The Wanderer and his Shadow .... 263 

44. Joyful Science 263 

45. Joyful Science 263 

46. The New Columbus 264 

47. Left Alone 264 

48. Answer 265 



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CONTENTS VU 

Mfil 

49. Venice 366 

50. Said a Dame to roe in the Morning Ray . . 266 

51. To Hafiz 266 

52. Tree in Autumn , 267 

53. The Tree Speaks 268 

54. Among Enemies 268 

B i u nysos- D i tli yrambs 18SS 

55. Or the Poorness of the Richest 271 

56. Among Birds of Prey 276 

57. The Sun Sinks 280 

5S. I.ast Command 283 

59, The Beacon 284 

60. Faroe and Eternity 286 



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INTRODUCTION 



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INTRODUCTION 

A Chinese historian of English Morals living in the twen- 
tieth century who would use any of the English standard works 
on Ethics written in our time, for the purpose of arriving 
at a true and complete picture of the moral convictions and 
principles of the English-speaking peoples of to-day, could 
not fail, however unconsciously, to be guilty of a gross mis- 
statement of the facts by presenting an altogether one-sided 
description of the somewhat complicated state of moral con- 
sciousness which existed in Great Britain and the United 
States in the time of his father or his grandfather. For 
without exception all those works on Ethics which he could 
use as his basis, are one-sided as dealing merely with a 
kind of Ethics which, according to the point of view reckoned 
most important by various men, has been variously termed : 
Ethics of unselfishness ; neighbour- morality ; Ethics of eudae- 
monistic utilitarianism, Christian Ethics or Socialist Ethics. 
Their fundamental traits are the enunciation of unselfishness 
as something morally better than egotism; of the welfare 
of the neighbour as of at least equal importance with one's 
own welfare; of the happiness of the many as surpassing 
by far the happiness of individual man, however great he 
be ; the acceptance as a moral obligation of the sentence 
of Scripture that man shall love his neighbour as he loves 



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XII INTRODUCTION 

himself; and logical premises which, of necessity, must ulti- 
mately lead to Communism, as they led to it in the little 
Christian Community at Jerusalem about the middle of the 
first century of out era. If, all other documents on the 
actual social status of Great Britain in the nineteenth cen- 
tury being lost or inaccessible to our Chinese historian of 
English morality, he were to proceed to construct, out of 
the theoretical elements furnished by his English ethical 
library, a social system in absolute accordance with them, 
it would be mainly communistic; and if he had the same 
confidence in the creations of his own deductions as our 
modern historians of ancient morality have in theirs, he 
would pronounce the verdict that the immense industrial 
system of Great Britain in the nineteenth century — of which 
he knew the popular legend told such frightful stories — had 
in reality been worked upon pure and simple socialistic and 
more especially communistic principles, everyone deeming 
the welfare of his brethren of far greater importance than 
his own. His rival who would declare that he possessed 
some- mimoires from which it was evident that a Chinaman 
resident in England at that time had lived among a caste 
which was rich, whilst other castes were poor ; which denied 
the names of " gentleman " and " lady " to other castes, and 
also denied them in consequence all sorts of social privileges, 
including the most important ones of social intercourse and 
intermarriage and of being regarded as trustworthy, sincere, 
and accountable in matters of tact and delicacy — would be 
declared to be the greatest liar in the world, his alleged 
facts being so utterly at variance with the established general 
drift of English thought at the time in question that there 
was no possibility of such opinions and such facts being 
coexistent. 



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introduction xiii 

Yet we know that the advocate of the memoires would 
be right. A great English scholar whom years ago I asked 
to explain how at this b'me of day a philosophy so utterly 
absurd as that of Heget was in full sway in English aca- 
demic circles, whilst it had long ago died out at the German 
Universities, told me he did not wonder at it in the least. 
The English mind was so absolutely practical that for a 
philosophy it needed something absurd in the highest degree, 
because it would at once pull to pieces every reasonable 
philosophy offered. I do not think this was quite a satis- 
factory explanation, but must confess I know of no better; 
and if one thing is certain, it is that the chasm which 
everywhere in civilised Europe exists between theory and 
practice, and more especially between current social theories 
and the actual state of things, is felt nowhere less than in 
Great Britain. By intoxicating themselves with phrases like 
altruism, charity, social justice, equality before the law, free- 
dom and right to labour and happiness, the majority of 
English-speaking people do not feel that they live in a 
world in which these things are by no means self-evident or 
fundamental to society. It is an open question whether it 
would be better for them, if the world of their fancy were 
also the world of reality ; but there is no doubt that the 
altruistic ideals, everywhere on British soil, are spoken of and 
regarded as infinitely greater and loftier than the egotism 
which characterises everyone in the business of actual life, 
and that no nation is less inclined to enter into a discussion 
of the question : are these ideals actually worthier of human 
striving than the wish to get the upper hand in the social 
struggle for existence ? It is by no means certain that ideals, 
simply because they are ideals, and are believed in by many, 
must necessarily represent something better than reality does, 



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XIV INTRODUCTION 

though the doctrine be inherited from Plato that such is the 
case. There is no need to discuss this here, but it wiU be 
admitted that the historian of the English morality of our 
days who — like the theoretic speculator — should devote all 
his space to those essentially Christian ideals of neighbour- 
morality would fall very far short of doing perfect justice to 
his subject. 

It is a fact, and a fact very important for the history of 
European Morals, that the English man and the English 
woman of our days are by no means exclusively pervaded 
by the principles of Christian- democratic neighbour- morality, 
but show also very distinct traces of a very different kind of 
moral valuation, of a morality which in its deepest essence 
"is aristocratic, however hateful this word be to many who 
are possessed of this sort of moral feelings. It is difficult to 
say whether it would more thoroughly deprive an Englishman 
of the right to be esteemed by his fellows, — to take away 
from his character all traces of Christian morals, of pity and 
charity, or to take away from him all those qualities which 
for an Englishman constitute the " gentleman " or the " lady." 
It is true that by people who are not accustomed to think 
for themselves these words are only too frequendy employed 
in a very superficial sense, and occasionally refer even to 
certain peculiarities of dress, pronunciation, bearing, conver- 
sation, or to things which can be bought. But this does not 
prove that these denominations are worth nothing. And he 
who would maintain such a proposition would certainly not do 
justice to the British national character and the high concept 
of personal honour which is laid down in the words. "Gentle- 
man " represents the ideal of the upper fourth-part of the 
English nation, and determines how a man should be if he 
wishes to be unobjectionable. It involves all those qualities 



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INTRODUCTION XV 

of personal honour, truthfulness, discretion, sincerity, trust- 
worthiness, honesty, and besides that command of the forms 
of educated intercourse, and that education, culture and 
freedom from violent eruptions of feeling which are indis- 
pensable for anybody who claims to belong to good society. 
He who lacks in any of these qualities, will not be admitted 
to any club or similar association, into any society or to 
family-intercourse, but will be excluded wherever those meet 
who, in their own opinion as well as in that of the rest of 
the nation, form the upper caste. This moral code lays stress 
upon a number of qualities, the want of which could not in 
the common use of words even be called immoral ; it ascribes 
weight to some personal traits the contrary to which is neither 
interdicted by the penal code nor regarded as in any way 
interfering with the honour of a man of the lower classes. 
Although some (though by no means all) actions forbidden 
by the ten commandments disqualify for the position of a 
" gentleman," that code is not at all identical with the old 
Jewish rules of moral conduct, but demands unspeakably 
more than they do. 

The peculiarity by which this moral valuation is distin- 
guished from that of Christian morality as taught by the New 
Testament, the school and the church, is that it is merely a 
morality of an upper caste in contradistinction from the lower 
classes of the people. By force of the qualities demanded 
by this code, the upper class feels itself to be something 
better than the lower. He who does not comply with the 
demands of that essentially aristocratic code, is " not a gen- 
tleman," she who does not master its requirements, is "not 
a lady," however good, industrious, economical, prudent peo- 
ple they may be, nay, however great things they may, occa- 
sionally, have accomplished. For it is not the single deed 



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XVI INTRODUCTION 

of magnanimity, nor the accomplishment of something great 
and valuable, which makes the gentleman. All his inventions 
would not make Mr. Edison a gentleman, if he were none 
in his everyday life. For it is the whole of one's life on 
which the verdict of this aristocratic mode of valuation is 
given. In numerous cases, though not in all, the command- 
ments of this gentleman- morality, e.g., in matters of discretion, 
are absolutely contrary to those of the ten commandments, or 
Christian duties towards the neighbour, and the ideal of a per- 
fect man is very different, according to the code by which it is 
determined. In the practice of life the relationship of the 
two codes is as follows : the true Englishman speaks more 
of the Jewish- Christian code, but he acts more upon the 
Germanic-aristocratic code which survives in his gentleman- 
morality ; and — if a Russian writer is right — it is just the 
things never or least uttered which have the greatest power 
over our minds. 

Nietzsche's book, A Genealogy of Morals, seeks to bring 
into the foreground the gentleman-morality which in scien- 
tific investigation has been absolutely neglected hitherto. He 
contrasts it with what he terms slave-morality, and seeks for 
the origin of both moralities in certain primitive conditions 
of society in remote past. Of all English writers there comes 
nearest him Mr. Stuart Glennie, who like Nietzsche — but I 
am not sure whether he knew the German philosopher — 
derives the most important facts of civilisation from the 
opposition of a fair and higher and a dark and lower race 
living in the same country, the former being the ruling, the 
latter the serving race. 1 A Genealogy of Morals — meant to 

1 Compare Mr, Stuart Glenn ie's Appendix to Miss Lucy Garnett's book, 
The Women of Turkey (London, 1890. Vol. II), and his two papers 
in the Papers and Transactions of the International Folklore-Congress, 
1 89 1 (London, Nutt, 1892), 



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INTRODUCTION XVII 

defend the book, Beyond Good and Evil, against certain 
attacks, and written in June 1887, at Sils Maria, Upper 
Engadine — consists of three Essays, each of which is almost 
self-dependent. The first is devoted to the two mutually I 
exclusive antitheses, " Good and Evil " and " Good and f 
Bad," the former representing the valuation of master-moral- 
ity, the latter being the valuation of slave- morality. Nietzsche 
himself knew that, with this essay, he had not furnished a 
complete historical proof of the case ; but he also knew that 
the historical side was his weakest point, and looked for co- 
operators especially in the field of etymology of Aryan denom- 
inations of moral qualities. Thus the etymological proof he 
undertook in aphorism 5 of the first Essay is a complete 
failure. 1 With perhaps one exception, where the derivation 
given is at least philologically possible, the etymological ex- 
planations are doubtless all wrong or perfectly arbitrary. 
That the actual evolution of meaning of the Greek examples 
given in aphorism 10 is, in several cases at least, the reverse 
of that which Nietzsche assumes, I hope to show in some 
other place. But by the withdrawing of this prop the theory 
does not necessarily fall to the ground. In the Germanic 
languages, and more especially in the Eastern Germanic, a 
great number of etymological facts can be gathered which 
point in the direction indicated by Nietzsche, though not 
leading to the specific result wanted by him. 

1 There is no reason to assume that aryan ever meant the rich; ^o-fiXis 
cannot possibly be derived from the Aryan copula, the 8 and the circum- 
stance that the copula does not form derivations in any Aryan language 
excluding this etymology; malia cannot be identical with iixXat; bonus 
cannot be duonus, because the form of the root dui as in its (older duis) 
would have to appear in an adjective derived from the number two, and 
the existence of such an adjective is, besides, very unlikely; the words 
good and god have no relation to the name of the Goths, the different 
/-sounds occurring in these words in Gothic being irreconcilable. 



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XV111 INTRODUCTION 

The Second Essay has for its object some local develop- 
ments of guilt, bad conscience, and the like. A revival of 
the old theory that guilt and debt are originally identical 
gives the starting point. According to Nietzsche's opinion, 
in recompense for material loss suffered, the unpaid creditor 
received a claim to exercise some cruelty on the debtor, 
which was later on felt to be some punishment. As regards 
punishment, Nietzsche arrives at conclusions similar to those 
which a great English philosopher reached twenty years ago 
though he published them so late as 1894, 1 and as to bad 
conscience Nietzsche is quite at one with Mr. Stuart Glennie's 
theories on the origin of civilisation. 

The most remarkable part of the Volume is Essay III, 
which tries to answer the question : what do ascetic ideals 
mean? In this sense ascetic ideals are identical with the 
ideals of slave- morality, and more especially with the ideals 
of poverty, humility (or unrestricted obedience), and chastity. 
Except a few sects and orders, Christendom has never lived 
according to these ideals, the realisation of which leads with 
absolute certainty to the economic ruin of whole peoples. 
And not only to economic ruin, but to the disappearance 
of a people from the surface of the earth. For the means of 
subsistence are an unavoidable presupposition for the exist- 
ence of human beings who are so imperfect as to be com- 
pelled to live on food. In recent times the neighbour- 
morality has declared its own bankruptcy in Malthusianism 
and Neomalthusianism. The demand not to produce any 
more progeny, in order that the neighbour may be able to 
produce some, can only be surpassed by the other demand 
not to eat any more but to die of hunger in order that the 

1 F, H. Bradley, Some Remarks on Punishment International Journal 
of Ethics, Apri! 1S94. p]>. 269-iS.t. 



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INTRODUCTION XIX 

neighbour may be able to live and feed. It is, however, not 
the consequences of the realisation of these ascetic ideals to 
which Nietzsche directs his attention, but the state of mind 
from which they proceed, and in this respect he arrives at the 
result that they are a necessary accompaniment of decadence, 
the gospel of all who are mentally or bodily inferior and who, 
by means of them, take revenge on the well- constituted and 
superior. 

Besides A Genealogy of Morals the present volume con- 
tains Nietzsche's Poems, ij. t that part of his poetry which 
he did not choose to incorporate in any of his larger writings 
as he did with the Collections he placed at the beginning 
and end of his Joyful Science or with the single poems to 
which he gave a place in his Zarafkustra, in Beyond Good and 
Evil, etc. The Poems cover the time from 1871 till 1888 
(the years 1878 till 1881 and 1886 till 1887 having yielded 
no contributions) and are chiefly didactic and dithyrambic. 

ALEXANDER TILLE. 



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A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 



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FOREWORD 



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FOREWORD 



We are strangers to ourselves, we perceivers — we 

ourselves to ourselves ; for this there is reason enough. 
We have never sought for ourselves, — how, then, could 
it happen, that some day we should find ourselves ? 
Rightly has it been said : " Where your treasure is, 
there will your heart be also." Our treasure is where 
the bee-hives of our knowledge are. We are ever on 
the road thither, as born hymenoptera and honey- 
gatherers of the spirit; we care at bottom but for 
this — to "bring something home." As regards life 
otherwise, so-called " experience," — who among us has 
even earnestness enough for it? Or time enough? 
On such matters, I fear, we were never really "by 
the matter ; " for our heart is not there — and not 
even our ear ! Nay, rather like one divinely-distracted 
and absorbed in himself, into whose ear the bell with 
powerful clang has sounded its twelve strokes of noon- 
day, and who thereupon suddenly awakes and asks 
himself: "What is it that the clock has struck?" 
Once in a while, we rub our ears afterwards asking, 
quite amazed, quite perplexed : " What is it we have 



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2 FOREWORD 

experienced ? ay : who are we ? " and recount, after- 
wards, all the palpitating twelve bell-strokes of our 
experience, our life, our being — alas! and count amiss 
in doing so ... . We must remain strangers to our- 
selves; we do not understand ourselves; we must mis- 
take ourselves ; for us, the saying holds to all eternity 
" each one is the greatest stranger to himself," — for 
ourselves, we are no '* perceivers ". . . . 



My reflections on the origin of our moral preju- 
dices — for these form the theme of our tract — have 
found their first chary and provisional expression in 
that collection of aphorisms which bears the title 
"Human, All-too-human. A Book for Free Spirits," 
which I first began to put on paper in Sorrento, dur- 
ing a winter which permitted me to make halt like 
some wanderer, and to survey the far-spread and dan- 
gerous land through which my mind had wandered so 
far. This took place in the winter of 1 876 — JJ ; the 
thoughts themselves are older. In the main, however, 
they were the same thoughts as those which I take 
up again in these essays. Let us hope, that the long 
interval proved beneficial to them ; that they grew riper, 
clearer, stronger, more perfect ! And that to-day I still 
hold firmly on to these thoughts ;. that in the meantime 
they have come to hold ever more firmly on to one 



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FOREWORD 3 

another; that they have grown together and into one 
another ; — these facts confirm in me the cheerful confi- 
dence, that from the very beginning they arose not iso- 
latedly, not at random, not sporadically, but from one 
common root and source, from a profoundly command- 
ing, ever more definitely speaking, ever more definitely 
defined fundamental will of perception. For thus and 
only thus it befits a philosopher. We have not the 
right to be single in any one respect : we must neither 
err singly nor singly hit upon truth. But with the 
same necessity with which a tree will bear its fruits, 
our thoughts will grow from out ourselves, and 
our values, our "Yeas" and "Nays" and "ifs" and 
"whethers" — all related and inter-connected and tes- 
tifying to one will, one health, one soil, one sun. — 
Whether they are pleasant to your taste, these fruits 
of ours? — But what matters that to the trees! What 
matters that to us, the philosophers ! . . . . 



Having a kind of scrupulousness peculiar to myself, 
which I do not readily acknowledge — inasmuch as 
it has reference to morality, to all that so far was 
known on earth, and celebrated as morality — , a 
scrupulousness which arose in my life so prematurely, 
so uncalled-for, so irresistibly, so in contradiction to 
surroundings, age, precedent and ancestry, that I 



• 



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4 FOREWORD 

should almost be justified in calling it my A priori, 
— my curiosity as well as my suspicion had to be 
confronted, at an early date, by the question of what 
origin really are our Good and Evil? In very deed, 
while but a boy of thirteen the problem of the origin 
of evil haunted me : to it I dedicated in an age, when 
we have in heart half play, half God, my first literary 
child-play, my first philosophical composition; and 
as regards my solution of the problem then, well, I 
gave, as is but fair, God the honour, and made him 
father of evil. Was it that my A priori wanted it 
just so? that new immoral, or, at any rate, non-moral 
A priori and what sounded forth from it, — the alas ! 
so an ti- Kantian, so mysterious "categorical imperative," 
to which afterwards I gave ever better hearing and not 
only hearing ? . . . . Fortunately,' I learned betimes to 
separate theological from moral prejudices and to seek 
no longer behind the world for the origin of evil. A 
little historical and philological schooling, together with 
an inbom and delicate sense regarding psychological 
questions, changed my problem in very short time into 
that other one: under what circumstances and condi- 
tions did man invent those valuations Good and Evil? 
and what is their own specific value ? Did they retard 
or further human progress so far? Are they a sign 
of need, of impoverishment, of degeneration of life ? 
Or is the reverse the case, do they point to the ful- 
ness, the strength, the will of life, its courage, its con- 



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FOREWORD 5 

fidence, its future? — To this question I found and 
ventured sundry answers; I distinguished between 
times, peoples and rank-degrees of individuals; I 
specialised my problem; the answers became new 
questions, investigations, suppositions, probabilities : till 
at last I had to myself a private land, a private soil, 
an altogether hidden and reserved, thriving and flour- 
ishing world, secret gardens as it were, of which no 
one beside me durst have an inkling .... Oh, how 
Itappy we are, we perceivers, provided we understand 
the art of keeping silence long enough ! . . . . 



.The first impulse to make known something of my 
hypotheses on the origin of morality, I received from 
a clear, clean, smart, also over-smart, little book, in 
which I was for the first time brought plainly face 
to face with a reverse and perverse kind of genealogi- 
cal hypothesis, the truly English kind, — a book which 
attracted me with that attractive force, peculiar to all 
things contrary, all things antipodal. The title of the 
little book was "The Origin of Moral Sensations;" 1 
its author Dr. Paul Ree; the year of its publication 
1877. Never perhaps have I read aught, to which, 
proposition by proposition, conclusion by conclusion, 
I said in like emphatic manner No, as I did to this 

1 Der Urspiung der moialiscben Empfindungen. 



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6 FOREWORD 

book : yet without the slightest vexation or impatience. 
In the work afore-mentioned, at which then I laboured, 
I made reference, opportunely and inopportunely, to 
the statements of Dr. Ree's book, not with the inten- 
tion of refuting them — for what have I to do with 
refutations ! — but as befits a positive mind, placing 
instead of the improbable the more probable thing, 
or, as the case might be, in place of one error another. 
Then, as stated, I advanced for the first time those 
derivational hypotheses, to which these essays are 
devoted, — awkwardly, as I would least of all hide 
from myself, still unfree, still without an original lan- 
guage for these original things, with much relapsing 
and wavering. Regarging single points, I refer to 
my observations in Human, AU-too-kuman, aph. 45 
on the two-fold derivation of Good and Evil (to wit, 
from the sphere of the gentlemen and of the slaves); 
also aph. 136 ff. on the origin and value of ascetic 
morals; also aph. 96, 99, II, aph. 89 on "morality of 
custom," that far older and far more original kind of 
morality, which is removed toto coeto from the altru- 
istic manner of valuation (which Dr. Ree, like all 
English genealogists of morals, holds to be the man- 
ner of moral valuation as such); also aph, 92. Wan- 
derer, aph. 26. Dawn of the Day, aph. 112 on the 
origin of justice, as a compensation between the ap- 
proximately equally-potent (balance of power being 
the fundamental condition of all treaties, i.e,, of all 



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FOREWORD / 

law); also on the origin of punishment, Wanderer, 
aph. 23, 33, for which purposes of determent are 
neither essential, nor original (as Dr. Ree thinks); — 
on the contrary, they are superadded, under certain 
circumstances, to punishment, and are always some- 
thing secondary, something adventitious. 



At bottom, something far more important interested 
me when I wrote that than any hypothetical concern, 
of my own or of others, relative to the origin of morality 
(or, more exactly stated: the latter only interested me 
because of an end to which it is one among many 
means). The question with me was the value of moral- 
ity, — and on this point I had to settle accounts almost 
exclusively with my great teacher Schopenhauer, to 
whom as to one present that book, — the ardour and 
secret opposition of that book — is directed ( — for 
that book also was " controversial "). More especially, 
the point in question was the value of " unselfishness," 
of the sympathising, self-denying, self-sacrificing in- 
stincts, which Schopenhauer had persistently just gilded 
over, deified and beyondified, to such an extent, that 
finally they remained to him as the "values as such," 
on the basis of which he said No to life and also to 
himself. But against these very instincts an ever more 
fundamental suspicion, an ever deeper-digging scepti- 



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8 FOREWORD 

cism within me gave utterance ! Just here I saw the 

great danger threatening mankind, the sublimest entice- 
ment and seduction — whither ? into the Nothing ? — 
Just here I saw the beginning of the end, the stopping, 
the retrospective weariness, the will turning itself 
against life, the final disease announcing itself softly 
and melancholily. To me this ever further spreading 
morality of sympathy, attacking and prostrating even 
philosophers, revealed itself as the most dismal symp- 
tom of our dismal-grown European civilisation, as its 
round-about way to a new Buddhism ? to a European 
Buddhism ? to — Nihilism f For this modern philos- 
opher's predilection for and over-valuing of sympathy 
is something altogether new: even on the worthless- 
ness of sympathy philosophers hitherto were agreed. 
I but mention the names of Plato, Spinoza, La Roche- 
foucauld and Kant, four minds differing as much as 
possible from one another, but of common opinion in 
this one point : in the underestimation of sympathy. 



The problem of the value of sympathy and morality 
of sympathy (I am an opponent of shameful modem 
effeminacy of sentiment) seems, at first sight, to be 
something isolated, — a single interrogation-mark; but 
he who will pause here and will learn to question 
here, will fare even as I have fared: a vast, new pros- 



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FOREWORD 9 

pect reveals itself to him, a possibility seizes upon 
him like some giddiness; every kind of distrust, sus- 
picion, fear springs up; the faith in morality, in all 
morality, is shaken, — and finally, a new demand makes 
itself felt. Let us pronounce this new demand: we 
stand in need of a criticism of moral values; the 
value of these values is first of all itself to be put in 
question — and to this end a knowledge is necessary 
of the conditions and circumstances from which they 
grew and under which they developed and shifted in 
meaning (morality as effect, as symptom, as mask, as 
tartuffism, as disease, as misunderstanding ; but also, 
morality as cause, as remedy, as stimulant, as impedi- 
ment, as poison), — a knowledge which hitherto was 
not existent, nay, not even desired. The value of 
these " values " was taken for granted, as a matter of 
fact, as being beyond all putting-in-question. Never 
until now was there the least doubt or hesitation, to 
set down "the good man " as of higher value than "the 
evil man," — of higher value in the sense of furtherance, 
utility, prosperity as regards man in general (the future 
of man included). What if the reverse were true? 
What if in the " good one " also a symptom of decline 
were contained, and a danger, a seduction, a poison, a 
narcotic by which the present might live at the expense 
of the future t Perhaps more comfortably, less danger- 
ously, but also in humbler style, — more meanly ? . . . . 
So that just morality were to blame, if a highest mighti- 



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10 FOREWORD 

ness and splendour of the type of man — possible in 
itself — were never attained? And that, therefore, 
morality itself would be the danger of dangers ? . . . . 



Suffice it to say, that I myself had reasons, since 
this prospect presented itself to me, to look about for 
scholarly, bold and industrious fellow-workers (I am 
still looking at this moment). Our task ,is to travel 
through the wide-spread, distant and so very hidden 
land of morality — of morality once actually exist- 
ing and experienced — with altogether new questions 
and, as it were, new eyes : and is not this almost 
equivalent to discovering this land itself ? . . , . If, 
in so doing, I thought among others also of the afore- 
said Dr. Ree, I did so, not doubting in the least, 
that the nature of the problems confronting him 
would force him to adopt a more suitable methodic 
for enabling him to arrive at answers. Have I been 
deceived ? My desire it was, at all events, to point 
out to so keen and impartial an eye a safer direction, 
the direction to the real history of morality and to 
warn him betimes against such an English fashion of 
hypothesising into the blue. For it is plain on the 
face of it, what colour must be a hundred times more 
important to the genealogist of morals than the blue : 
namely the gray, i.e. t what is documental, actually- 



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/hi) 

* FOREWORD II 

determinable, and was once actually-existing, in short, 
the whole long and not easily decipherable hiero- 
glyphics of the past of human morality ! — Of this his- 
tory Dr. Ree knew nothing ; but he had read Darwin ; 
and so, in a manner quite entertaining at least, the 
Darwinian beast and the most modern and modest 
morality- tenderling, who "no longer bites," in his hy- 
potheses gracefully join hands, — the latter with a kind 
of goodnatured, complacent and indolent expression of 
countenance, to which even a grain of pessimism and 
fatigue is added, as if it were hardly worth while to 
take all these things — the problems of morality — as 
serious. To me, on the other hand, there seems to 
be nothing which it pays so well to take seriously ; 
in which pay is included, for instance, the permission 
of taking these things some day cheerfully. Cheer- 
fulness, to wit, or, expressing myself my own way, 
joyful science — is a reward, a reward for a long, brave, 
laborious, subterranean earnestness, which of course 
not each and every one will share. But on the day 
in which with full heart we say : " Forward, march ! 
our old morality too is a piece of comedy ! " on that day 
we shall have discovered a new complication and pos- 
sibility for the Dionysian drama of the "fate of the 
soul " — and he will know how to make use of it, we 
may be sure — he, the grand, old and eternal come- 
dian of our existence I . . . . 



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12 FOREWORD 



8 



If this tract reads unintelligibly to some one and 
will not easily pass into the ears, the fault, it seems 
to me, is not necessarily mine. It is clear enough, 
presupposing, what I did presuppose, that my earlier 
writings have first been read and that, in so doing, a 
little trouble was not shunned: they are, indeed, not 
easily accessible. As regards, for instance, my Zara- 
thustra, no one will pass for a connoisseur of it with 
me, whom each word in it did not at some time deeply 
wound and at some time deeply delight. Then only 
will he be allowed to enjoy the privilege of piously 
taking his share of the halcyonic element from which 
the work has sprung, of its sunny brightness, distance, 
breadth and certainty. In other cases the aphoristical 
form occasions difficulty : the reason is, that this form 
is not taken weightily enough at present. An aphorism 
honestly coined and shaped, in being read is as yet 
far from being " deciphered ; " on the contrary, the in- 
terpretation now really has to commence, for which 
purpose a special art of interpretation is needed. In 
the third essay of this book I have presented a speci- 
men of what in such cases I call interpretation: the 
essay itself is headed by an aphorism, of which it is 
the commentary. To practice reading in this manner, 
as an art, one thing of course is necessary, which to- 
day has been best forgotten — and hence the "read- 



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FOREWORD T3 

ableness " of my writings is in no hurry — , for which 
thing it is almost necessary to be a cow and certainly 
not a modern man : chewing the cud is necessary .... 

Sils-Maria, Upper Engadine, 
July 1887. 



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FIRST ESSAY 
GOOD AND EVIL," "GOOD AND BAD" 



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VjOOQlC 



These English psychologists, to whom, among other 
things, we owe the only attempts hitherto made to 
bring about a history of the origin of morality, — they 
give, us in their own persons no slight riddle to solve ; 
they have even, if I may confess it, for this very 
reason, as living riddles, something distinctive in 
advance of their books — they themselves are inter- 
esting! These English psychologists — what is it 
they want ? We find them, voluntarily or involun- 
tarily, ever engaged in the same work, — the work of 
pushing into the foreground the partie honteuse of 
our inner world and of seeking for the really opera- 
tive, really imperative and decisive factor in history 
just there, where the intellectual pride of man would 
least wish to find it (for example, in the vis inertia of 
custom or in forgetfulness or in some blind and acci- 
dental hooking-together and mechanism of ideas or in 
something purely -passive, automatic, reflex-motion-like, 
molecular and thoroughly stupid). What is it that 
always drives these psychologists into just this direc- 
tion ? Is it a secret, a malignant and mean instinct of 
belittling man, which is, perhaps, even loath to confess 
itself? Or some pessimistic suspicion — the distrust 
c \i 



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l8 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

of disappointed, morose, poisonous and angry-grown 
idealists? Or a little subterranean enmity and in- 
trigue against Christianity (and Plato), which perhaps 
did not even pass the threshold of consciousness ? Or 
even a li bidinou s taste for what is strange, painfully- 
paradoxical, questionable and nonsensical in existence ? 
Or finally, a little of each, a little meanness, a little 
moroseness, a little anti-christianism, a little tickling 
and need of pepper ? . . . . But I am told that they 
are in reality nothing but so many stale, cold and tire- 
some frogs, hopping about and creeping into man, as 
if here they felt themselves at home, in their proper 
element, — namely in a swamp. I hear this unwill- 
ingly ; nay, I do not believe it. And if, where know- 
ledge is denied to us, I may venture to express a wish, 
then I wish quite heartily, that the reverse may be the 
case with them, — that these explorers and micros co- 
pists of the soul are, in reality, courageous, proud and 
magnanimous animals, who can, at will, set a curb to 
their heart, and also to their smart, and who have edu- 
cated themselves to sacrifice all desirableness to truth, to 
each truth, even simple, bitter, ugly, repulsive, unchris- 
tian, immoral truth , . , , For there are such truths. 



All due deference, therefore, to the good spirits who 
may hold sway in these historians of morality! But 
I am sorry to say that they are certainly lacking in the 



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FIRST ESSAY ICj 

historical spirit, that they have been, in fact, deserted 
by all good spirits of history itself. They think, each 
and every one, according to an old usage of philoso- 
phers, essentially unhistorically ; no doubt whatever • 
The botchery of their genealogy of morals becomes 
manifest right at the outset in the determination of 
the origin of the concept and judgment "good." 
"Unselfish actions" — such is their decree — "were 
originally praised and denominated ' good ' by those to 
whom they were manifested, i.e., those to whom they 
were useful; afterwards, this origin of praise -was for- 
gotten, and unselfish actions, since they were always 
accustomed to be praised as good, were as a matter 
of course also felt as such, — as if, in themselves, they 
were something good." We see at once that this first 
derivation contains all the typical traits of English 
psychological idiosyncrasy, — we have " utility," " for- 
getting," "custom" and last of all "error," and all this 
as the basis of a valuation which hitherto formed the 
pride of superior man as being a kind of prerogative 
of man in general. This pride must be humbled, this 
valuation — devalued. Did they succeed in this? .... 
Now in the first place it is clear to me, that the true 
and primitive home of the concept "good" was sought 
for and posited at the wrong place : tiw judgment 
"good" was. not iavewnd by those to n lwa goodness 
was i i twmi l On the contrary, the "good," i.e., the 
noble, the powerful, the higher-situated, the high- 



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20 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

minded felt and regarded themselves and their act- 
ing as of first rank, in contradistinction to everything 
low, low-minded, mean and vulgar. Out of this pathos 
of distance they took for themselves the right of creat- 
ing values, of coining names for these values. What 
had they to do with utility I In the case of such a 
spontaneous manifestation and ardent ebullition of 
highest rank-regulating and rank-differentiating valua- 
tions, the point-of-view of utility is as distant and out 
of place as possible; for in such things the feelings 
have arrived at a point diametrically opposite to that 
low degree of heat which is presupposed by every 
kind of arithmetical prudence, every utilitarian calcu- 
lation, — and not momentarily, not for a single, excep- 

',tional hour, but permanently. ' The pathos of nobility 
and distance, as I said, the lasting and dominating, the 
integral and fundamental feeling of a higher domi- 
nating kind of man in contradistinction to a lower 
kind, to a "below" — suck is the origin of the an- 
tithesis "good" and "bad." (The right of masters to 
confer names goes so far that we might venture to 
regard the origin of language itself as a manifestation 
of power on the part of rulers. They say: "This is 
such and such," they seal every thing and every hap- 
pening with a sound, and by this act take it, as it were, 
into possession.) It follows from this derivation, that 

: the word "good" has not necessarily any connection 
with unselfish actions, as the superstition of these gen- 



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FIRST ESSAY 31 

ealogists of morals would have it. On the contrary, 

it is only when a decline of aristocratic valuations sets 
in, that this antithesis "selfish" and "unselfish" forces 
itself with constantly increasing vividness upon the 
conscience of man, — it is, if I may express myself 
my own way, the herding instinct which, by means of 
this antithesis, succeeds at last in finding expression 
(and in coining words). And even after this event a 
long time elapses, before this instinct prevails to such 
an extent that the moral valuation makes halt at and 
actually sticks to this antithesis. (As in the case, for 
instance, of modern Europe. To-day, the prejustice 
which regards "moral," "unselfish," " d/sint/resse'" as 
notions of equal value, already holds sway with the 
force of a "fixed idea " and brain-disease.) 



But again : disregarding the historical untenable- 

ness of such a hypothesis on the origin of the valuation 
"good," it suffers from psychological self-contradic- 
tion. The utility, we are told, of an unselfish action 
accounts for the praise bestowed upon it, and this 
origin was afterwards forgotten. But, we ask, is this 
forgetting even so much as possible ? Did the utility 
of such actions ever cease to exist at any time ? The 
very opposite is the case. This utility was the every- 
day experience at all times, i.e., something which again 



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22 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

and again was underscored anew; and which, there- 
fore, could not only not disappear from consciousness or 
become forgettable, but actually had — with constantly 
increasing vividness — to impress itself upon conscious- 
ness. How much more reasonable is that opposite 
theory (it is, because more reasonable, not a bit more 
true), which, for instance, is represented by Mr. Her- 
bert Spencer who regards the concept "good" to be 
essentially identical with the concept "useful," "suit- 
able," so that precisely in the valuations "good" and 
" bad " mankind is said to have summed up and sanc- 
tioned its tmforgotten and unforgettable experiences as 
to what is useful - suitable and harmful -unsuitable. 
Good, according to this theory, la that which at all 
times proved itself to be asetnl : henoe it may keep 
its authority as "valuable in the highest degree," as 
" valuable in itself." This kind of explanation also, I 
say, is false, but the explanation itself is at least rea- 
sonable and psychologically tenable. 



The hint, which put me on the right track, I re- 
ceived from the question as to the etymological signi- 
fication of the names coined by different languages 
for denoting what is "good." Pushing this inquiry I 
found that they all pointed to one and the same shift- 
ing of concepts, — that "superior," "noble" in its caste 



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FIRST ESSAY 2$ 

sense, was in every instance the fundamental concept 
from which "good" in the sense of "superior in sen- 
timent," noble in the sense of "with lofty sentiment"/ 
"privileged in sentiment" necessarily developed; — 
a development running in all cases parallel with that 
other one which causes "mean," "moblike," "com- ';- 
mon," to turn at last into the concept of "bad." The 
most striking instance, illustrating this latter devel- 
opment, is presented by the German word " sckleckt" 
itself. It is identical with "schlicht" (simple). Com- 
pare " schlechtweg" (simply, plainly) and " scklecht- 
erdings " (absolutely). It denoted originally the simple, 
the ordinary man, in contradistinction to the gentleman, 
no secondary or equivocal sense attaching as yet to 
its meaning. About the time of the Thirty-years' war 
— quite late, we see — the sense shifted into that 
which obtains at present, — With reference to the 
genealogy of morals, this seems to me to be an essen- 
tial discernment ; the fact that it was found so late, 
is to be attributed to the retarding influence which 
in the modern world the democratic prejudice exercises 
in regard to all questions of origin. And this preju- 
dice extends even into the seemingly most objective 
territory of natural science and physiology, as we 
shall but take occasion to intimate in this connection. 
What amount of mischief this prejudice, once unbridled 
and become hatred, may cause, especially in the do- 
main of morality and history, the notorious case of 



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24 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

Buckle teaches us : the plebeianism of modern thought, 
which is of English origin, broke out once again upon 
its native soil : violently, like some slimy volcano, and 
with that briny, boisterous, common eloquence, with 
which volcanoes at all times have spoken. 

5 

In respect to our problem, which for good reasons 
may be called a silent problem and which with quite 
particular taste addresses itself to but few ears, it is 
of no small interest to establish, that in the case of 
the words and roots denoting "good," the principal 
nuance is in many cases still apparent, on the ground 
of which the gentlemen felt themselves as of higher 
rank. Most frequently, perhaps, they will simply 
name themselves according to their superiority of 
power (i.e., the "mighty," the "lords," the "rulers"), 
or according to the most visible emblem of such supe- 
riority, — for instance " the rich," " the owners " (such 
is the sense of arya ; and correspondingly in the Ira- 
nian and Slavic languages). But again, according to 
some typical trait of character, and this is the case 
which more especially interests us. They will, for 
instance, call themselves " the truthful : " this is shown 
most clearly in the case of Grecian nobility of which 
the Megarian poet Theognis is spokesman. The word 
foffXtk, coined for this purpose, signifies, in its root 



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FIRST ESSAY 2$ 

one who is, who has reality, who is real, who is true ; 
then with a subjective turn, the true one as the truth- 
ful man; in this phase of shifting its concept, it is 
made the watch-and-catch-word of the nobility and 
passes over entirely into the concept "noble," as a 
mark of distinction from the lying common man, as 
Theognis conceives and describes him, — till at last the 
same word, after the decline of nobility, simply re- 
mains to denote noblesse of soul and now attains, as 
it were, to ripeness and sweetness. In the word xaxik 
as in SetXik (the Plebeian in contradistinction to the 
man who is aya&ai) we find cowardice underscored. 
This may, perhaps, serve as a hint as to the direction 
in which we must seek for the etymological derivation 
of aya6(k, a word which allows several interpretations. 
In the case of the Latin maltts (by the side of which 
I place pe\a<i), the dark-complexioned, especially the 
black-haired man (" hie niger est") might possibly have 
been characterised, he being the pre-Aryan habitant 
of Italian soil, whom his colour marked out most 
clearly as against the prevailing, to wit, the Aryan 
conquering race. At any rate, the Gaelic furnished 
me with a precisely analogous case. Fin (for instance, 
in the name Fin-Gal), the word characterising nobility, 
denoting ultimately the good, the noble, the pure, 
originally the flaxen-haired man in contradistinction 
to the dark, black-haired aborigines. The Celts, it 
may be observed here, were throughout a blond race. 



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26 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

We do wrong if, as is still done by Virchow, we con- 
nect those streaks of an essentially dark-haired popu- 
lation, noticeable on the more carefully prepared 
ethnographical maps of Germany, with some doubtful 
Celtic origin and blood-admixture. On the contrary, 
it is the pre-Aryan population which makes itself felt 
in such places. (The same holds true for almost the 
whole of Europe. All in all, the conquered race has 
there once more succeeded in getting the upper hand, 
in colour, in shortness of skull, nay, perhaps even in 
the intellectual and social instincts. Who will guaran- 
tee that modem democracy, anarchy, which is still 
more modern, and especially the hankering for la 
commune, the most primitive form of society — which 
is held in common by all our European socialists, do 
not represent in the main an immense afterclap, and 
that the conquering and gentleman race, the race of 
the Aryans, is not among other things physiologically 
succumbing ? . . . .) Latin bonus I think I may inter- 
pret as the warrior: granting, that I correctly trace 
back bonus to an older duonus (compare bellum = 
duellum m duen-lum), in which latter form I suppose 
duonus to be contained. Bonus, therefore, would be 
the man of quarrel, of dissension (duo), the warrior : 
we see, what constituted the " goodness " of a man in 
ancient Rome. Our own German "gut" — might it 
not denote " one godlike," the man of divine origin ? 
And be identical with the name " Goths," denoting the 



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FIRST ESSAY 3 1 

who, with most frightfully consistent logic, dared to 
subvert the aristocratic equation of values (good = 
noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = beloved of 
God), and who, with the teeth of the profoundest 
hatred (the hatred of impotency), clung to their own 
valuation : " The wretched alone are the good ; the 
poor, the impotent, the lowly alone are the good ; only 
the sufferers, the needy, the sick, the ugly are pious ; 1 
only they are godly ; them alone blessedness awaits ; — 
but ye, ye, the proud and potent, ye are for aye and 
evermore the wicked, the cruel, the lustful, the insati- 
able, the godless; ye will also be, to all eternity, the 
unblessed, the cursed and the damned !".... It is 
known, wko has been the inheritor of this Jewish 
transvaluation .... In regard to the enormous initi- 
ative fatal beyond all measure, which the Jews gave by 
this most fundamental declaration of war, I refer to the 
proposition which elsewhere presented itself to me 
{Beyond Good and Evil, aph. 195) — viz., that with the 
Jews the slave-revolt in morality begins : that revolt, \ 
which has a history of two thousand years behind it, 
and which to-day is only removed from our vision, 
because it — has been victorious . , , , 

S 

But this ye do not understand? Ye are blind 

to something which needed two thousand years ere 
it came to be triumphant? There is nothing in it 



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32 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

surprising to me : all long things are hard to see, hard 
to survey. But this is the event: from the trunk of 
that tree of revenge and hatred, Jewish hatred — the 
deepest and sublimest hatred, i.e., a hatred which 
creates ideals and transforms values, and which never 
had its like upon earth — something equally incompa- 
rable grew up, a new love, the deepest and sub lime st 
kind of love: — and, indeed, from what other trunk 
could it have grown ? . . . . Quite wrong it is, how- 
ever, to suppose, that this love grew up as the true 
negation of that thirst of vengeance, as the antithesis of 
the Jewish hatred! No, the reverse is true! This 
love grew out of this trunk, as its crown, — as the 
crown of triumph, which spread its foliage ever farther 
and wider in clearest brightness and fulness of sun- 
shine, and which with the same vitality strove upwards, 
as it were, in the realm of light and elevation and 
towards the goals of that hatred, towards victory, spoils 
and seduction, with which the roots of that hatred pene- 
trated ever more and more profoundly and eagerly into 
everything deep and evil. This Jesus of Nazareth, as 
the personified gospel of love, this saviour bringing 
blessedness and victory unto the poor, the sick, the 
sinners — did he not represent seduction in its most 
awful and irresistible form — the seduction and by-way 
to those sdimt Jewish values and new ideals ? Has not 
Israel, even by the round-about-way of this " redeemer," 
this seeming adversary and destroyer of Israel, attained 



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FIRST ESSAY 33 

the last goal of its sublime vindictiveness ? Does it not 
belong to the secret black-art of truly grand politics 
of vengeance, of a vengeance far-seeing, underground, 
slowly-gripping and fore -reckoning, that Israel itself 
should deny and crucify before all the world the proper 
tool of its vengeance, as though it were something 
deadly inimical, — so that "all the world," namely all 
enemies of Israel, might quite unhesitatingly bite at this 
bait ? And could, on the other hand, any still more 
dangerous bait be imagined, even with the utmost re- 
finement of spirit ? Could we conceive anything, which 
in influence seducing, intoxicating, narcotising, corrupt- 
ing, might equal that symbol of the "sacred cross,"! 
that awful paradox of a " God on the cross," that 
mystery of an unfathomable, ultimate, extreme st cruelty 
and self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of man? 
. . .-. Thus much is certain, that sub hoc signo Israel, 
with its vengeance and transvaluation of all values, 
has so far again and again triumphed over all other 
ideals, over all nobler ideals. 



But, Sir, why still speak of nobler ideals ? Let us 

submit to the facts: the folk has conquered — or the 
" slaves," or the "mob," or the "herd" or — call it what 
you will! If this has come about through the Jews, 
gdod ! then never a people had a more world-historic 

D 

» 



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34 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

mission. The " lords " are done away with ; the mo- 
rality of the common man has triumphed. This vic- 
tory may at the same time be regarded as an act of 
blood-poisoning (it has jumbled the races together) — 
I shall not object. But, beyond a doubt, the intoxica- 
tion did succeed. The redemption of mankind (from 
"the lords," to wit) is making excellent headway; 
everything judaTses, christianises, or vulgarises in full 
view (words are no matter!). The progress of this 
poisoning, through the entire body of mankind, seems 
irresistible ; the tempo and step of it may even be, from 
now on, ever slower, finer, less audible, more cautious 
— time is not wanting .... " With reference to this 
I end has the church to-day still a necessary mission, or 
even a right to existence ? Or could it be dispensed 
with? Quaerititr. It seems as though it rather im- 
■ pedes and retards this progress, instead of hastening it ? 
; But perhaps this very fact constitutes its utility .... 
,' At all events, the church is something coarse and rustic ; 
\ something repugnant to a more delicate intelligence, 
j to a truly modem taste. Should it not at least refine 
J itself a little? .... It rather tends to estrange to- 
| day than to seduce .... Who among us would be 
a freethinker, if there were no church? It is the 
church that we disrelish, not its poison .... Dis- 
l regarding the church, we even love the poison . . . ." 
\, Such is the epilogue of a "freethinker" to my disquisi- 
tion, — an honest animal, as he abundantly betrayed, 



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FIRST ESSAY 35 

moreover a democrat; he had been attentive until 
then, and could not suffer to see me silent. For, for 
me there are here many things about which I must be 

silent. 

to 

The riaWMMWil in morality begins by resentment 
itaelf bwWMg creative and giving birth to values — 
the tmtntmm t of such beings, as real reaction, the 
reaction of JMJa, h iiafin— ibk to, and as nothing 
but an imaginary vimgwmee wiH serve to indemnify. 
Whereas, on the one hand, all noble morality takes 
its rise from a triumphant Yea-saying to one's self, 
slave-morality will, on the other hand, from the very 
beginning, say No to something "exterior," "different 
"not-self;" this No being its creative deed. This re 
version of the value- positing eye — this necessary glance 
outwards instead of backwards upon itself — is part of 
resentment. Slave-morality, in order to arise, needs, in 
the first place, an opposite and outer world ; it needs, 
physiologically speaking, external irritants, in order to 
act at all; — its action is, throughout, reaction. The 
reverse is true in the case of noble valuation. It acts 
and grows spontaneously. It only seeks for its an- 
tithesis in order to say, still more thankfully, stilt more 
rejoicingly, Yea to itself. Its negative concept "low," 
"mean," "bad," is merely a late-born and pale after- 
image in comparison with the positive fundamental 



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36 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

concept of the noble valuation which is thoroughly sat- 
urated with life and passion and says : " We, the noble, 
we, the good, we, the fair, we, the happy!" If the 
noble manner of valuation mistakes in, and sins against 
reality, this happens in respect to the sphere, which is 
not sufficiently known to it, — the true knowledge of 
which, in fact, it stubbornly opposes. Under certain 
circumstances it will mistake the sphere it despises, the 
sphere of the common man, of the lower people. On 
the other hand, one should observe, that in any case 
the emotion of contempt, of looking down upon, of 
looking superior (supposing even that the picture of 
the despised be falsified by it), will remain far behind 
the falsification, with which suppressed hatred, the re- 
venge of the impotent, will — of course in effigy — mal- 
treat its opponent Indeed, too much carelessness, too 
much easy-taking, too much looking away, too much 
impatience, nay, even too much self-rejoicing, are ad- 
mixed with contempt, to transform its object into a 
monster and caricature. One should not fail to take 
notice of the almost benignant nuances, which, e.g., 
Grecian nobility puts into all words with which it con- 
trasts the common people with itself ; how a kind of 
pity, regardfulness and indulgence is mixed and 
sugared into such words, with the result, that nearly 
all expressions characterising the common man, finally 
remain as mere denominations for " unhappy," "piti- 
able " (compare BeiXxh, $e£\ato$, -Koviipfc, jM^ij/xk —the 



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FIRST ESSAY 37 

two latter words originally denoting the common man 
as working-slave and beast of burden) — and how, on 
the other hand, "bad," "low," "unhappy," always sug- 
gested to the Greek ear a tone in which the timbre 
"unhappy" preponderated: as being the inheritance 
of an ancient nobler and aristocratic manner of valua- 
tion, which even in the act of despising remains true 
to itself ( — philologists may be reminded here of the 
sense in which olfypd}, avoX/Sw, TkTJfKov, Bwrrv^etv, 
gvfupopd are used), The "well-born " naturally felt 
themselves as the " happy ; " they did not find it neces- 
sary to construct, through a glance at their enemies, 
their happiness artificially; as the case might be, talk 
it into themselves, lie themselves into it (as is the prac- 
tice of all men of resentment); and again, as complete! 
men, men teeming with strength and, therefore, off 
necessity active men, they could not sever happiness/ 
from action, — activity with them being the necessary 
concomitant of happiness (hence the derivation of ev 
irpdrretf). All this is quite in contrast with the "hap- 
piness " which is felt in the state of the impotent, the 
oppressed, those suppurative from venomous and hos- 
tile feelings, with whom it appears mainly as narcosis, 
numbness, rest, peace, "Sabbath," unharnessing of the 
mind, and stretching of the limbs, in short, is a passive 
state. Whereas, on the one hand, the life of the noble 
man is self-confident and self-sincere (yewaw? "noble- 
born" underscores the nuance "sincere" and perhaps 



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38 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

also "naive"), the man of resentment, on the other 
hand, is neither sincere, nor naive, neither honest nor 
straightforward against himself. His soul squints; his 
mind loves hiding-places, alleys and back-doors; every- 
thing hidden appeals to him as kis world, his shelter, 
his comfort ; he is master in the art of keeping silence, 
of forgetting nothing, of waiting, of provisional self- 
diminution, of self-humiliation. A race of such men 
of resentment will at last, of necessity, be more prudent 
than any noble race; it will also learn to appreciate 
prudence in quite different measure : namely as a pri- 
mary condition of existence; whereas prudence in the 
case of noble men is very apt to have about it a dainty 
tang of luxury and raffinement. For in their case pru- 
dence is far less essential than the perfect reliableness 
of function of the regulating, unconscious instincts or 
even a certain imprudence, such as readiness to en- 
counter things — whether danger or an enemy — or that 
eccentric suddenness of anger, love, reverence, grati- 
tude and revenge by which noble souls at all times 
have recognised themselves as such. Even the resent- 
ment of superior man, when it appears in him, acts and 
exhausts itself in the reaction which follows at once, 
and hence it does not poison. And again, it will not 
manifest itself at all in countless cases, in which with 
the poor and the feeble it is inevitable. Not to be able 
to take seriously, for a long time, an enemy, or a mis- 
fortune or even one's own Misdeeds — is the character- 



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FIRST ESSAY 39 

istic of strong and full natures, abundantly endowed 
with plastic, formative, restorative, also obliterative 
force (a good example of this, in recent times, is Mira- 
beau, who had no memory for insults and affronts re- 
ceived, and who could not forgive for the sole reason 
that — he forgot). Such a man, with a single jerk, 
shakes off much vermin which burrows in others. 
Only here is also possible, if on earth it be possible 
at all, true "love" for one's enemies. How much ven- 
eration for his enemy has not superior man ! — and such 
veneration is already a bridge to love .... He de- 
mands an enemy for himself, as his distinction, he will 
only suffer an enemy in whom he finds nothing to 
despise and very muck to honour ! On the other hand, 
let us figure to ourselves the enemy as conceived by 
the man of resentment — just therein, we shall have his 
deed, his creation: he has conceived the "foul fiend," 
"the Evil one," as his fundamental concept, proceed- 
ing from which he now conceives also a complementary 
image and counterpart, a "Good one" himself! .... 

II 

Quite reversely, therefore, from superior man, with 
whom the fundamental concept "good "is the primary 
and spontaneous conception, proceeding from himself, 
out of which he will subsequently create for himself 
an idea of " bad ! " This " bad " of superior origin and 



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40 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

that "evil" from the brew-kettle of unquenched hatred 
— the former an after-creation, something accidental, 
a complementary colour; the latter the original, the 
beginning, the real deed in the conception of slave- 
morality — how different an aspect is offered by these 
two words "bad" and "evil," though, seemingly, they 
are opposed to one and the same concept, viz., " good ! " 
But it is not the same concept "good." On the con- 
trary, let people ask themselves, from the standpoint 
of resentment morality as to who is " evil ? " Answer- 
ing in all severity : just the " good " one of the opposite 
morality, even the noble man, the powerful and the 
ruling one, — but reversely coloured, reversely inter- 
preted, reversely looked at through the venom-eye of 
resentment. Here let us deny one thing least of all. 
He, who learned to know these good ones only as 
enemies, in so doing learned to know only evil enemies, 
and those very men, who by manners, reverence, usage, 
gratitude, and still more by mutual superintendence, 
by jealousy inter pares are rigorously held within 
bounds, and who, on the other hand, in their conduct 
among one another prove themselves so inventive in 
regardfulness, self-restraint, delicacy, faith, pride and 
friendship, — these same men are towards that which 
is without, which to them is foreign, a foreign land, 
not much better than so many disencaged beasts of 
prey. Here they enjoy liberty from all social restraint ; 
the wilderness must compensate them for the tension 



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FIRST ESSAY 41 

produced by a long incarceration and impalement in 
the " peace " of society ; they step back into the inno- 
cence of the conscience of the beast of prey, as exult- 
ant monsters, which, perhaps, walk away from an 
abominable sequence of murder, burning down, viola- 
tion, torture, with such wantonness and equanimity, as 
if merely some student-trick had been accomplished ; 
with the conviction, that now for a long time again the 
poets will have something to celebrate and sing of. 
At the ground of all these noble races, the beast of 
prey, the splendid, blond beast, lustfully roving in 
search of spoils and victory, cannot be mistaken. An 
outlet is necessary from time to time for this hidden 
ground; the animal must come out again, must go 
back into wilderness : Roman, Arabian, Germanic, 
Japanese nobility, Homeric heroes, Scandinavian vik- 
ings — in this need they all are one. It is the noble 
races, that left the concept " barbarian " on every 
trace, wherever they passed; even in their highest 
civilisation the consciousness of this fact is visible and 
even a certain pride in it (for instance, when Perikles 
addresses his Athenians in that celebrated funeral 
oration : " In every land and sea, our boldness has cut 
a way for itself, setting up for itself, everywhere, im- 
perishable monuments for good and for bad"). ,This___ 
" boldness " of the noble races, foolhardy, absurd* sud- 
den, as is its manifestation ; what is unforeseeable, and 
even improbablc-oi their enterprise*, mm- Perikles speaks 



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42 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

highly of the pa$v(ita of the Athenians, — their indiffer- 
ence and contempt for safety, life, body, comfort ; their 
terrible gaiety and profundity of delight in all destruc- 
tion, in all blisses of victory and cruelty — all this, to 
the minds of those, who suffered from it, finally was 
united into the picture of the "barbarian," of the 
" foul fiend," as the case might be, of the " Goth " or 
the "Vandal." The deep, icy mistrust, which the 
German causes, as soon as he attains to power, also 
now again, — is still the afterclap of that unquench- 
able horror, with which Europe^ for centuries, wit- 
nessed the raging of the blond Germanic beast 
(although between the ancient Germanics and us Ger- 
mans there exists scarcely a relationship of ideas, not 
to say blood-relationship). I have called attention on 
one occasion to the embarrassment of Hesiod, when 
contriving the sequence of the ages of civilisation and 
seeking to express it in gold, silver and bronze : with 
the contradictions presented to him by the glorious, 
but likewise so awful, so violent world of Homer, he 
could only settle by making two ages of one, which 
he placed in succession — first the age of the heroes 
and demigods of Troy and Thebes, as that world had 
remained fixed in the memory of noble families, who 
traced their ancestry back to it ; then the age of 
bronze, as that same world appeared to the descend- 
ants of the down-trodden, robbed, maltreated, of those 
led into captivity and sold as slaves : an age of bronze, 



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FIRST ESSAY 43 

as I mentioned, stern, cold, cruel, devoid of feeling 
and of conscience, demolishing and dyeing all things 
in blood. Assuming it to be true, what now at all 
events is believed as "truth," that this is the very 
sense of all civilisation; t o change and r ear th*» hpast / 
■ia Lprey of "m an "jnto a tame and civilised animal, a, 
domestic animal, — then undoubtedly all those instincts 
of reaction and resentment, by the aid of which the 
noble families and their ideals were at last overcome 
and debased, would have to be regarded as the proper 
tools of civilisation, which, however, would not mean 
that the bearers of such tools represented civilisation 
themselves. The contrary is not only probable — no ! it 
is to-day evidential ! These bearers of prostrating and 
vengeance-craving instincts, the progeny of all Euro- \ 
pean and non-European serf do m ( .of all p re-Aryan pop- 1 
ulations in particular — they represent the decline of | 
mankind ! These "tools of civilisation " are the shame 
of man, and rather a suspicion, a counter-argument ^ 
against "civilisation" in general. We may be fully 
right if the fear of the blond beast, lurking at the 
bottom of all noble races, will not leave us, and if 
we are on the look-out ; but who would not a hundred 
times sooner fear — if, at the same time, he may ad- 
mire — than have nothing to fear, but, at the same time, 
not be able to rid himself of the loathsome sight of 
the ill-constituted, the stinted, the stunted and the 
poisoned ? And is not this our doom ? What, to-day, 



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44 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

constitutes our aversion from "man?" For we suffer 
from man, no doubt whatever ! Not fear, but the fact 
that we have no longer anything in man to fear ; that 
the vermin " man " is in the foreground and majority ; 
that "tame" man, man hale and hopelessly mediocre 
and disagreeable has already learned to feel himself 
as the end and aim, as the sense of history, as " higher 
man;" — in fact that he has a certain right to feel 
himself as such, inasmuch as he feels himself at a 
distance from the superabundance of that which is 
spoiled, sickly, weary and worn-out, of which Europe 
begins to stink to-day, — -hence, at any rate, as some- 
thing relatively perfect, something still capable of life, 
something still saying Yea to life .... 

12 

Here I shall not suppress a sigh and a last confi- 
dence. What is it that just I find intolerable? That, 
which alone I cannot away with ; which makes me 
suffocate and pine ? Bad air ! Bad air ! That some- 
thing ill-constituted comes near me ; that I must smell 
the entrails of an abortive soul! .... How much 
need, privation, bad weather, sickness, hardship, iso- 
lation, can we not ordinarily stand? In fact, we get 
through everything else, born as we are for a subter- 
ranean and warring existence; we always again suc- 
ceed in coming up to light, we always again live to 



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FIRST ESSAY 45 

see our golden hour of victory, — and then we stand 
as we have "been born, infrangible, with tension, pre- 
pared for things new, still more difficult, still more 
distant, like some bow, which by every danger is 
stretched only still more tightly. But from time to 
time permit me — assuming that there are heavenly 
patronesses, beyond Good and Evil — a glance, permit 
me but one glance upon something perfect, something 
completely finished, something happy, mighty, trium- 
phant, in which there is still something to be feared ! 
Upon a man that justifies man; upon a complement- 
ary, lucky and redeeming case of man, which vindi- 
cates our faith in man ! For thus it is : the dwarfing 
and levelling of European man hides our greatest 
danger, for this sight makes weary. We see, to-day, 
nothing which will grow larger; we divine, that it 
goes still downwards, ever downwards, downwards into 
the thinner, into the more good-natured, the more 
prudent, the more comfortable, the more mediocre, the 
more indifferent, the more Chinese, the more Christian. 
Man, no doubt whatever, grows ever "better" .... 
Even here lies the doom of Europe — with the fear 
of man, we have lost also the love and reverence for 
man, the hope in man, in fact, the will to man. The 
sight of man now makes tired. What, to-day, is nihil- 
ism if not this? .... We are tired of man .... ! 



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46 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

13 

But to revert to our theme : the problem of the other 
origin of " good," of "ga*d " as conceived by the man 
of resentment, calls for its rtlkianil — That the lambs 
should bear a grudge to the big binds of prey, is no- 
wise strange ; but this is no reason for blaming the big 
birds of prey for picking up small lambs. And if the 
lambs say among themselves : " These rapacious birds 
are wicked, and he who is as little as possible of a bird 
of prey, but rather the opposite, i.e., a lamb — should 
not he be good ? " we cannot find fault with the estab- 
lishment of such an ideal, though the birds of prey 
may make rather mocking eyes and say ; " We do not 
bear at all a grudge to them, these good lambs, we 
even love them. Nothing is more delicious than a 
tender lamb." To demand of strength, that it should 
not manifest itself as strength, that it should not be a 
will to overpower, to subdue, to become master of, that 
it should not be a thirst for enemies, resistance, and 
triumphs, is as absurd as to demand of weakness that 
it should manifest itself as strength. A quantum of 
power is an equal quantum of impulse, will, action. 
More correctly speaking, it is even this impelling, will- 
ing, acting itself, and nothing else, — and it is caused to 
appear otherwise only through the seduction of lan- 
guage (and the cardinal errors of reason, fossilised in 
language), which takes and mistakes all action as con- 



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FIRST ESSAY 47 

ditioned by something acting, by a "subject." Even 
as the people will separate the lightning from its flash 
and take the latter for the doing, the effect of a subject 
called lightning, so popular morality will sever strength 
from the manifestations of strength, as if behind the 
strong man there existed an indifferent substratum 
which is free to manifest strength or not. But there is 
no such substratum ; there is no " being " behind doing, 
acting, becoming. "The doer" is merely a fictitious 
addition to the doing; the "doing" is all. People in 
reality double the doing when they make the lightning 
flash. That is a doing-doing; the same happening 
being once posited as the cause and again as the effect 
of the cause. Natural philosophers do not much better 
when they say that power moves, power causes, and 
the like. All our science, despite all its coolness, its 
freedom from emotion, still labours under the seduction 
of language and has not yet got rid of the changelings 
which were foisted in, the "subjects" (the "atom," e.g., 
is one of these changelings, also the Kantian " thing in 
itself "). No wonder, therefore, if the suppressed, and 
secretly glowing emotions, hatred and revenge, avail 
themselves of this belief and, in fact, support no belief 
with so much zeal as this, that the strong are free to be 
weak, and that a rapacious bird can, if it will, be a lamb. 
For in this way they appropriate in their minds the 
right of imputing to the bird of prey the fact that it is 
rapacious .... If the suppressed, the down-trodden 



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43 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

and the wronged, prompted by the craft of impotence, 
say to themselves : " Let us be different from the bad, 
let us be good! and good are all those, who wrong no 
one, who never violate, who never attack, who never 
retaliate, who entrust revenge to God, who, like us, live 
aloof from the world, who avoid all contact with evil, 
and who, altogether, demand little of life, as we do, the 
patient, the humble, the just " — this means, viewed 
coolly and un prejudicially, no more than : "We, the 
weak, are — it is a fact — weak ; it is well for us not to 
do anything, for which we are not strong enough?' But 
this stern matter of fact, this meanest kind of prudence, 
shared even by insects (which occasionally simulate 
death, in order not to do " too much " in case of great 
danger), has, thanks to the trickery and self-imposition 
of impotence, clothed itself in the apparel of renounc- 
ing, silent, abiding virtue, as if the weakness of the 
weak one itself, i.e, t presumably his being, his action, 
his entire, unavoidable, inseparable reality — were a 
voluntary performance, a thing self-willed, self-chosen, 
a deed, a desert. To this kind of man, the necessity of 
the belief in an indifferent, free-willed " subject " is 
prompted by the instinct of self-preservation, self-asser- 
tion, — an instinct by which every falsehood uses to 
sanctify itself. The subject (or, speaking more popu- 
larly, the soul) has perhaps been, so far, the best relig- 
ious tenet on earth, even for the reason that it made 
possible for the majority of mortals, the weak and 



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FIRST ESSAY 49 

oppressed of every description, that sublime self-de- / 
fraudation of interpreting weakness itself as freedom, 
the fact of their being thus and thus as a desert. 



14 

Will some one look down and into the secret of the 

way in which ideals are manufactured on earth ? Who 
has the courage to do so ? Up ! Here the view into 
this dark work-shop is open. Yet a moment, my good 
Sir Pry and Break-neck! Your eye must first get 
accustomed to this false and fickle light .... So ! 
Enough ! Now speak 1 What is going on below ? 
Speak out, what you see, man of most dangerous curi- 
osity! Now I am the listener. — 

"I see nothing, I hear the more. It is a cautious, 
knavish, suppressed mumbling and muttering together 
in every nook and corner. It seems to me they lie. 
A sugared mildness cleaves to every sound. Weakness 
is to be falsified into desert, no doubt whatever — it is, 
as you said." — 

Go on ! 

— "And impotence which requiteth not is to be 
falsified into 'goodness ; ' timorous meanness into ' hu- 
mility;' submission to those, whom one hates, into 
'obedience' (namely to one, who they say commands I 
this obedience; they call him God). The inoffensive- I 
ness of the 'weak one,' cowardice itself in which he 

E 



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JO A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

is rich, his standing at the door, his unavoidable neces- 
sity of waiting comes here by good names, such as 
' patience ; ' they even call it the cardinal virtue, Not- 
to-be-able-to-take-revenge is called not-to-will-revenge, 
perhaps even forgiveness (' for they know not what 
they do; we alone know what they do'). They also 
talk of ' love for their enemies ' — and sweat in doing 
so." 

On! 

" They are wretched, no doubt, all these mumblers 
and underground forgers, though warmly seated to- 
gether. But they tell me that their wretchedness is a 
selection and distinction from God, that the dogs which 
are liked most are whipped, that their misery may, per- 
haps, also be a preparation, a trial, a schooling, per- 
haps even more — something which at some time to 
come will be requited and paid back with immense 
interest in gold, no! in happiness. This they call 
'blessedness.'" 

On! 

" Now they will have me understand, that not only 
they are better than the mighty, the lords of the earth, 
whose spittle they must lick {not from fear, no, not at 
all from fear ! but because God commands to have 
respect for all authority) — that not only they are bet- 
ter, but are also, or certainly will be, ' better off ' one 
day. But enough ! enough ! I cannot stand it any 
longer. Bad air! Bad air! This work-shop in which 



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FIRST ESSAY $1 

ideals are manufactured— -methinks, it stinks from lying 
all over." 

No! Yet a moment! You have not yet said any- 
thing of the masterpiece of these necromancers, who 
from every black prepare white, milk and innocence. 
Did you notice what the very acme of their raffinement 
is, — their keenest, finest, subtlest, falsest artist manipu- 
lation ? Mark well ! These cellar-animals filled with 
hatred and revenge — what is it they are making just 
out of hatred and revenge? Have you ever heard 
such words? Would you believe, if trusting merely 
their words, that you are all among beings of resent- 
ment? .... 

" I perceive, once again I open my ears (ah ! ah ! 
ah ! and shut my nose). Now only I hear, what they 
were saying so often : 'We, the good, we are the just.' 
What they ask for, they do not call retribution, but 
' the triumph of justice; ' what they hate, is not their 
enemy, no! they hate 'wrong-doing,' and 'ungodli- 
ness." What they believe in, and hope for, is not the 
hope of revenge, the drunkenness of sweet revenge 
( — sweeter than honey, already Homer called it), 
but 'the victory of God, just God, over the god- 
less.' What remains for them to love on earth, is 
not their brethren in hatred, but their 'brethren in 
love,' as they say, — all the good and the just on 
earth." 

And how do they call that which serves them as con- 



f 



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$2 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

solation in all the sufferings of life — their phantas- 
magoria of an anticipated future blessedness ? 

"What? Hear I right? They call it 'the final 
judgment,' the coming of their kingdom, of the 'king- 
dom of God I ' Meanwhile they live ' in faith, in love, 
in hope.' Enough ! Enough ! " 

In faith in what ? in love for what ? in hope of what ? 
These weak ones (for at some time also they intend to 
be the strong, no doubt whatever; at some time also 
their " kingdom " is to come) " the kingdom of God " 
they call it simply, as I remarked; for they are in 
everything so lowly ! If for no other purpose, to live 
to see that, it is necessary to live long, beyond death, — 
indeed, life everlasting is necessary in order that, in the 
kingdom of God, they may be eternally indemnified for 
the life on earth "in faith, in love, in hope," Indem- 
nified what for ? Indemnified what with ? Dante, it 
seems to me, made a gross mistake when, with fright- 
ful ingenuity, he placed the inscription above the gate 
to his hell "Me too eternal love created." Above the 
door of the Christian paradise and its " eternal blessed- 
ness " the inscription " Me too eternal hate created " 
would certainly be more appropriate — granting a truth 
to be appropriate above the entrance to a falsehood! 
For what is the blessedness of that paradise? We 



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FIRST ESSAY 53 

might perhaps guess it; but it is better to have an 
authority to testify to it, which, in such matters, is not 
to be underestimated, Thomas of Aquino, the great 
saint and teacher. "Beati in regno ccelesti" he says, 
meek as a lamb, " videbunt pcenas damnatorum, ut 
beatitudo illis mar/is complaceat," Or, shall 
we hear it in a stronger tone, perhaps from the mouth 
of a triumphant church-father, who dissuaded his Chris- 
tians from the cruel pleasures of the public spectacles 
— and why? "Faith," he says de spectac. c. 29 ss. r 
" presents unto us much more — and nvuch, stronger 
things; thanks to salvation much greater joys are at 
our disposal; in place of the athletes we have our 
martyrs ; will we blood, well, we have the blood of 
Christ .... But lo! what shall await us on the day 
of his second advent, of his triumph ! " And then he 
goes on, the delighted visionary: "At enim supersunt 
alia spectacula, ille ultimus et perpetuus judicii dies, ille 
nationibus insperatus, ille derisus, cum tanta ssculi ve- 
tustas et tot ejus nativitates una igne kaurientur. Qua 
turn spectaculi latitude! Quid admirer t Quid 
rideam t Ubi gaudeam / TJbi exultem, spectans 
tot et tantos reges, qui in cesium recepti nuntiabantur, 
cum ipso Jove et ipsis suis testibus in imis tenebris con- 
gemescentes ! Item presides (provincial governors) per- 
secutores dominici nominis smvioribus quam ipsifiammis 
savierunt insultantibus contra Ckristianos liquescentes ! 
Quos pmterea sapientes illos philosopkos coram disci- 



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54 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

putts suis una conflagrantibus erubescentes, qui bus nihil 
ad deum pertinere suadebant, quibus animas aut nullas 
aut non in pristina corpora redituras affirmabant! 
Etiam poetas non ad Rhadamanti nee ad Minois, sed 
ad inopinati Christi tribunal palpitantes / Tunc magis 
tragosdi audiendi, magis scilicet vocales (better with 
voice, still worse sh outers) in sua propria calami tat e ; 
tunc histriones cognoscendi, solutions multo per ignem; 
tunc spectandus auriga in flammea rota totus rubetts, 
tunc xystki contemplandi non in gymnasiis, sed in igne 
jaculati, nisi quod ne tunc quidem illos vettm vivos, ut 
qui malim ad eos potius conspectum insatiaMlem con- 
ferre, qui in dotninum descsvierunt. ' Hie est tile, dicam, 
fabri aut quastuarim films (as is shown by all that fol- 
lows, and more especially by this denotation of the 
mother of Jesus, known from the Talmud, — Tertullian 
from now on is speaking of the Jews), sabbati de- 
structor, Samarites et dcemonium habens. Hie est, 
quern a Juda redemistis, hie est ille arundine et cola- 
phis diverberatus, sputamentis de-decoratus, felle et ace to 
potatus. Hie est, quern clam discentes subripuerunt, ut 
resurrexisse dicatur vel hortulanus detraxit, ne lactucm 
sum frequentia commeantiutn kederentur.' Ut talia 
species, ut talibtis exultes, quis tibi praetor aut 
consul aut quastor aut sacerdos de sua ■ liberatttate 
prcestabitt Et tamen fuse jam habentus quodammodo 
per fidewi spiritu imaginante reprmsentata. Ceterum 
qualia ilia sunt, quw nee oculus vidit nee auris audivit 



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FIRST ESSAY 55 

nee in cor kominis ascenderuntt (I Cor. 2, 9.) Credo 
circo et utraque cavea (first and fourth rank or, accord- 
ing to others, comic and tragic stage) et omni stadia 
gratiora," — JPer fidem: thus it is written. 

16 

Let us come to a close ! The two antithetical values 
"good and bad," "good and evil" have fought a terri- 
ble battle, a battle lasting thousands of years. And 
though undoubtedly the second of these values has 
long since succeeded in getting the upper hand, yet 
places are not wanting even now, where the struggle is 
continued with doubtful issue. We might even say, 
that the struggle was, in the meantime, shifted into ever 
higher regions and even thereby became ever deeper, 
ever more spiritual ; so that to-day perhaps no more 
distinctive characteristic of a "higher nature," of a 
more spiritual nature exists, than to be dual in this 
sense and still a battle-ground for these antitheses. 
The symbol of this struggle, written in letters which 
remained readable, above the entire history of man 
until now, is called "Rome against Judea, Judea 
against Rome." So far no greater event has occurred 
than this struggle, this question, this deadly inimical 
antithesis. Rome felt in the Jew something like the 
embodiment of anti-naturalness, its anti-podal monster, 
as it were ; in Rome the Jew was looked upon as "con-, 



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56 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

victed of hatred against all mankind ; " and rightly so, 
in so far as we have a right to connect the welfare and 
future of mankind with the unconditional dominance of 
aristocratic values, Roman values. The feelings, on 
the other hand, of the Jews against Rome ? A thou- 
sand signs enable us to guess what they were ; but it 
I will suffice once again to call to mind the Johannean 
Apocalypse, that vilest of all written outbursts of which 
revenge is guilty. (By the way ; let us not undervalue 
the keen, logical consistency of the Christian instinct, 
which it showed, when it superscribed just this book of 
hatred with the name of the disciple of love, that same 
disciple to whom it assigned that gospel of love-enthusi- 
asm. This fact evinces a bit of truth, however much 
literary counterfeiting may have been necessary for that 
purpose.) The Romans, we know, were the strong and 
the noble, so that stronger and nobler men had never 
existed on earth before, nay, had not even been dreamt 
of. Every relic of them, every inscription delights, 
granted that one feels what is writing therein. The 
Jews, on the contrary, were that priestly people of 
resentment par excellence, which was possessed of an 
unparalleled, popular ingenuity of morals. Let one but 
compare to them the similarly gifted peoples, the 
Chinese, perhaps, or the Germans, to form an idea as 
to what is of the first rank and what is of the 6fth rank. 
Which of the two has gained the victory for the time 
being, Rome or Judea ? But there is no doubt whatever ? 



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FIRST ESSAY 57 

Let us but consider to whom to-day people bow in 
Rome as to the essence of all the highest values — and 
not only in Rome, but almost over half the globe, 
wherever man either has become tame, or is about to 
become so. To three Jews, as is known, and one Jewess ■■ 
(to Jesus of Nazareth, Peter the fisherman, Paul the 
tentmaker, and the mother of the aforesaid Jesus, 
called Maria). This is very remarkable : Rome, beyond 
all doubt, did succumb. True enough that the Renais- 
sance witnessed a dazzlingly-haunted reawakening of the 
classic ideal, of the noble manner of valuation in all 
things : Rome itself moved, like some asphyctic coming 
back to life, beneath the pressure of the new, Judaised 
Rome built upon it, which presented the aspect of an 
ecumenical synagogue and was called "Church." But 
forthwith Judea triumphed again, thanks to that 
thoroughly moblike (German and English) movement ] / 
of resentment, called the Reformation, — added thereto, I 
what had to follow, the restoration of the Church, the 
restoration also of the sepulchral silence of classic 
Rome. Once again, in an even still more decisive and 
deeper sense, Judea triumphed over the classic ideal 
through the French revolution: the last political no- 
blesse in Europe, that of the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth French centuries, broke down under the popular ' 
resentment-instincts. Never a louder jubilation, a more 
tumultuous enthusiasm was heard on earth ! True it is 
that in the very midst of this event the most extraordi- 



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58 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

nary, the most unexpected thing happened : the antique 
ideal appeared bodily and with unheard-of splendour 
before eyes and conscience of humanity, — and once 
again, more strongly, more plainly, more forcibly than 
ever, against the old, false battle-cry of resentment 
about the right of the most, against the will to the 
grading, degradation, and levelling, to the downward 
and dusk-ward of man, — resounded the terrible and 
rapturous counter-cry of the privilege of the fewest I 
Like some last hint pointing to the other road appeared 
Napoleon, that most isolated and latest-born of men that 
ever was; and in him appeared the incarnate problem 
of the noble ideal as such. Let it be well considered 
what kind of problem this is : Napoleon, this synthesis 
of monster and beyondman .... 

Was this the end of it ? Was therewith that greatest 
of all ideal antitheses laid ad acta for all times? Or 
merely adjourned, adjourned for a long time ? Might 
there not be, at some time or other, a necessity for a 
still more terrible, a still longer prepared-for blazing up 
of the old conflagration ? Nay, is not even this to be 
wished for as much as possible? Even to be willed? 
Even to be furthered ? Whoso, like my readers, begins, 
at this place, to reflect, to reflect further, will not very 
likely come soon to an end, — reason enough for me, to 



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FIRST ESSAY 59 

come to an end myself, provided that it has long since 
become sufficiently clear what I will, what I will just 
with that dangerous watchword, written on the body of 
my last book : " Beyond Good and Evil " . . . , This 
does, at any rate, not mean " Beyond Good and Bad." 

NoU. I take the opportunity presented by this essay, publicly and 
formally to express a wish so far only mentioned by myself in occasional 
conversation with scholars : that some Faculty of Arts should, by adver- 
tising a number of academical prize-dissertations, deserve well of the 
furtherance of Studies in the history of morality. Possibly this book will 
serve to give a rigorous impetus in even this direction. With a view to a 
possibility of this kind let the following question be proposed. It deserves 
attention on the part of students of the Humanities and historians as well 
as of professional students of philosophy. 

"What hints art furnished by philology, more especially by etymological 
r {search, with reference to the history of the development of moral concepts ? " 

On the other hand, it is, of course, quite as essential, to gain the sym- 
pathy of Physiologists and students of medicine for these problems (of the 
value of the valuations of the past) ; in which undertaking it may be left 
to professional philosophers to be, in this particular case, as in others, the 
spokesmen and mediators, after having succeeded on the whole in chang- 
ing the relations between philosophy, physiology and the science of medicine 
— which were originally so prudish, so jealous — into the friendliest and 
fruitfullest exchange. And, in fact, all tables of goods, every " thou shalt " 
known to historical or ethnological research, call first of all for physiological 
consideration and interpretation, at any rate sooner than for psychological. 
All, likewise, await criticism from the side of medical science, The ques- 
tion : what is this or that table of goods and " morality " worth ? must be 
viewed from the most widely different perspectives; especially, " the worth 
for what ? cannot be analysed with sufficient delicacy. A factor, which, 
for instance, possesses evident value with reference to the greatest durabil- 
ity of a race (or an increase of its powers of adaptation to a certain climate, 
or the preservation of the greatest number) would by no means possess 
the same value, if the problem were the formation of a stronger type. The 
welfare of the greatest number and the welfare of tbe smallest number are 



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60 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

antithetical points- of- view of valuation. To regard the former as being by 
itself of higher value, — this we shall leave to the simplicity of English 
biologists .... All sciences now must do the preparatory work for the 
future task of the philosopher : understanding this task to be, that the phi- 
losopher has to solve the problem of value, that he has to determine the 
rank-sequence of values. 



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SECOND ESSAY 

"GUILT," "BAD CONSCIENCE," AND 
THE LIKE 



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To rear an animal, which may promise, — is not even 
this that paradoxical task which nature has set herself, 
as regards man ? Is not even this the true problem of 
man ? . . . . That this problem has, to a considerable 
extent, been solved, must seem all the more astonishing 
to any one capable of duly appreciating the reversely 
operative force, — that of forgetfulness. Forgetfulness 
is not merely a vis inertia, as superficial people be- 
lieve; on the contrary, it is an active, and, in the 
strictest sense, a positive faculty of check, to which 
must be attributed the fact that whatever we live to see, 
whatever we experience and receive into ourselves, 
does not rise into consciousness during the state of 
digestion (which state we might call inanimation); no 
more so, than the entire, thousandfold process, by 
which the nourishment of our body — so-called " incor- 
poration" — is carried on. To close, for certain times, 
the doors and windows of our consciousness ; to remain 
undisturbed by the noise and feud, with which the 
serving organs of our nether-world operate for and 
against one another ; a little silence, a little tabula rasa 
of consciousness, in order to make room for something 
new, especially for the nobler functions and function- 
's 



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64 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

aries, for governing, fore-seeing, predetermining (for 
our organism is constituted oligarchically) — such is 
the advantage of — as we called it — active forgetfulness, 
comparable to a door-keeper and preserver of the order 
of soul, of peace and etiquette ; which fact makes ap- 
parent at once the reason why there can be no hap - 
mness, no cheerfulness, no hope, no pride, no presence 
— without . foxgetfulness. The man, in whom this 
apparatus of checking is injured and stops may be 
compared (and not only be compared) to one suffering 
from dyspepsia — he never gets beyond things .... 
Even this of necessity forgetful animal, in which the 
forgetting represents a force, a form of vigorous health, 
has reared and acquired for itself a counter-faculty, a 
memory by the aid of which, in certain cases, forgetful- 
ness is unhinged — for those cases, to wit, in which a 
promise is to be made. Hence this is not merely a 
passive not-to-be-able-to-get-rid-of an impression once 
imprinted; not merely the indigestion caused by a 
word pledged at some former time with which one 
cannot settle accounts ; but an active not-to-zf*7/-to-get- 
rid-of, a continuous willing of that which once has been 
willed, a specific memory of will; so that between the 
original " I will," " I shall do " and the actual discharge 
of will, its act, we may unhesitatingly interpose a world 
of new and foreign things, circumstances and even 
acts of will, without causing this long chain of willing 
to break. But what does all this presuppose ? How 



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SECOND ESSAV 6$ 

must man, in order to be able in this wise to dispose of 
the future, have learned to distinguish between neces- 
sary and accidental happening ; to think causally ; to 
see, as though it were present; and anticipate what is 
distant; to posit with certainty what constitutes the 
end and what the means for the end ; and, in general, 
to be able to reckon and calculate; — how reckonable, 
regular and necessary must man himself have become, 
also to himself, to his own consciousness, in order to be 
able finally, in the manner of one making a promise, to 
guarantee for himself as for a future. 



Just this is the long story of the origin of responsi- 
bility. That task of rearing an animal which may 
promise, involves, as we have seen already, by way of 
condition and preparation the more immediate task of 
making man, in the first place, in some degree neces-| 
sary, uniform, equal among equal beings, regular and 
consequently reckonable. The gigantic labour of that 
which I have called " morality of custom " (cf. Dawn 
of the Day, aph, 9, 14, 16) — the specific labour of man 
at himself during the longest period of the existence of 
mankind, the entire prehistoric work of man, receives 
its sense and grand justification by this fact, however 
much of rigour, tyranny, stupidity and idiocy may 
attach to such work : with the aid of morality of custom 



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66 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

and the social strait-jacket, man was made really reck- 
onable. But if we place ourselves at the end of this 
gigantic process, there where the tree matures its 
fruits, where society and its morality of custom at last 
gives birth to that for which it was but the means : we 
shall find as the ripest fruit pendent from the tree, the 
sovereign individual, like to itself alone, delivered from 
the morality of custom, autonomous, supermoral (for 
" autonomous " and " moral " are mutually preclusive 
terms), in short, the man of private, independent and 
long will who may promise — and in him a proud con- 
sciousness vibrating in all his fibres, of that which finally 
has been attained and realised in his person, a true 
consciousness of power and freedom, a feeling of 
human perfection in general. This freed one, who is 
really allowed to promise, this master of a free will, 
this sovereign — surely, he cannot be ignorant of what 
a superiority he is given by such a will over everything 
which is not allowed to promise and pledge for itself ; 
how much confidence, how much fear, how much rever- 
ence he creates (he deserves all three); and how, with 
this mastery over his self, he has also been intrusted 
with the mastery over circumstances, nature, and all 
creatures possessed of a shorter will and less trustwor- 
thy than himself. The " free " man, the possessor of a 
long, infrangible will, has, in this possession, his stand- 
ard of valuation; judging others by himself he will 
either honour or despise, and with the same necessity 



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SECOND ESSAY 67 

with which he honours his equals, the strong and the 
reliable (those that may promise), — every one, to wit, 
who promises as a sovereign does, reluctantly, rarely, 
slowly, who is niggard of his confidence, who distin- 
guishes by confiding, whose word is given as something 
which can be depended upon, because he feels himself 
strong enough to keep it even against misfortunes, ay, 
even against fate. With the same necessity he will 
hold his kick in readiness for the slender greyhounds 
that promise without having the right to do so, and his 
scourge for the liar who breaks his word in the very 
moment when it 'scapes his lips. The proud know- 
ledge of the extraordinary privilege of responsibility, 
the consciousness of this rare freedom, of this power 
over self and fate, has penetrated into the inmost depth 
of his personality and become instinct, dominating in- 
stinct : — by what name will he call it, this dominating 
instinct, supposing, that he personally needs a word for 
it? But there can be no doubt: this sovereign man 
will call it his conscience .... 



His conscience? .... It can be told in advance, 
that the concept "conscience," which here presents 
itself to us in its final, almost strange phase of devel- 
opment, had before reaching this stage experienced 
a long history and transmutation of forms. To be 



J 



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68 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

able to pledge for one's self and to be, consequently, 

also able to say yes to one's self — this, as I said, is 

I a ripe fruit, but it is also a late fruit. How long it 

had to remain pendent from the tree in a state of 
bitter, acid taste! And for a still longer time noth- 
ing could be seen of such a fruit ! No one was allowed 
to promise it, though certainly the entire tree was in 
a state of preparation for and growth towards this 
very fruit ! " How may a memory be made for the 
animal man? How may this superficial, this half 
blunted, half giddy understanding, this walking forget- 
fulness, be impressed in such a manner as will leave 
a permanent mark ?"..., This primeval problem 
was, as may be supposed, not solved exactly with deli- 
cate answers and means ; indeed, perhaps nothing in 
the early history of man is so terrible and so awful 
as his ntmmotechny. "In order to make a thing 
stay, it must be burned into memory ; only that which 
never ceases to hurt, remains fixed in memory ; " these 
are among the fundamental truths of the oldest (un- 
fortunately also longest) psychology on earth. We 
might even say that wherever on earth solemnity, 
earnestness, mystery and sombre colours are still to 
be found in the life of men and peoples, something 
of the terribleness operates still with which promises, 
pledges and vows were made in former times. The 
past, the longest, deepest, sternest past breathes upon 
us and rises within us whenever we grow "earnest." 



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SECOND ESSAY 69 

Blood, tortures, sacrifices were indispensable whenever 
man found it necessary to make a memory for himself ; 
the most frightful sacrifices and pledges (in which 
category are included the offerings of the first-born), 
the most abominable mutilations {e.g., castrations), the 
most barbarous ritual observances in all religious cults 
(all religions are at the lowest bottom systems of cruel- / 
ties) — all these things owe their origin to that instinct, 
which found out pain mental and physical to be the 
most potent adjutory means of mnemonics. In a cer- 
tain sense asceticism altogether falls under this head : 
a few ideas are to be rendered indelible, omnipresent, 
unforgettable, " fixed," for the purpose of hypnotising 
the entire nervous and intellectual system by means 
of these "fixed ideas" — and the ascetic procedures 
and forms of life furnish the means for freeing these 
ideas from competition with all the other ideas, for 
rendering them "unforgettable." The poorer the 
memory of mankind, the more terrible the aspect 
which its customs present! The rigour of the penal 
laws, especially, furnishes us with a standard for the 
trouble it had to take in mastering forgetfulness and 
in keeping present a few primitive requirements of 
social life to these fickle-mooded slaves of emotion and 
desire. We Germans certainly do not consider our- 
selves to be an extraordinarily cruel and hard-hearted 
people, nor a people over-much addicted to thoughtless- 
ness and unconcernedness for the morrow ; but a mere 

/,/ (• .-■■•' • ■'•■■ 

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70 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

glance at our ancient penal codes will serve to convey 
an idea of the effort expended in the task of rear- 
ing a "nation of thinkers" (rather say: that nation 
in Europe, in which at this very day the maximum 
amount of confidence, earnest taste lessness and matter- 
of-factness is to be found, and which, with such endow- 
ments, is entitled to rear every variety of European 
mandarins). By the aid of terrible means these Ger- 
mans have made for themselves a memory to conquer 
their fundamental mob-instincts and their brutal blunt- 
ness. We but call to mind the ancient German pun- 
ishments, "stoning" for instance (already the legend 
makes the millstone fall on the head of the evil-doer), 
the rack (the most private invention and specialty of 
German genius in the domain of punishment!), the 
operation of piercing the criminal with pales, the pun- 
ishment of being mangled and trampled upon by horses 
(" quartering "), the seething of the criminal in oil or 
wine (as late as the fourteenth and fifteenth century), 
the favourite punishment of flaying ("slice-cutting"), 
the cutting of flesh out of the breast, and I suppose 
also the painting of the evil-doer with honey and subse- 
quent exposure to the flies in hot sunshine. By means 
of such pictures and performances the memory will 
at last take hold of some five or six " I-will-nots" in 
regard to which it has made its promise, in order to 
enjoy the boons of society — and sure enough! by 
means of this kind of -memory people at last became 



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SECOND ESSAY /I 

" reasonable ! " Alas, reason, earnestness, the mastery 
over the emotions, the entire, dreary affair called re- 
flection, all these privileges and pageants of man, how 
dearly they have ultimately been paid for ! how much 
blood and horror is at the bottom of all "good 
things!" .... 



But how did that other "dreary affair," — the con- 
sciousness of guilt, the whole of "bad conscience" 
come to make its appearance upon earth ? — And this 
brings us back to our genealogists o f morals. Once 
again I say — or, is this the first time I say so ? they 
are good for nothing. A mere "modern" subjective 
experience, some five spans in length ! no knowledge, 
no will to know the past, still less any historical in- 
stinct, any gift of "second sight," which just for our 
problem is necessary! and, for all that, to practise 
" history of morals ! " It is but reasonable that this 
should have results the relations of which to (ruth 
are rather more than prudish. Have these geneal- 
ogists of morality who lived heretofore ever had even 
so much as an inkling of the fact, that, e.g., that funda- 
mental notion of morality "guilt" takes its origin from 
the very material notion " debts ? " Or that punish- 
ment as a retaliation developed quite aloof from every 
presupposition as to the freedom or not-freedom of 
the will? — and so much so, that always a very ad- 



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72 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

vanced stage of humanisation must first be reached 
before the animal "man" may begin to make those 
much more primitive distinctions "intentional," "neg- 
ligent," "accidental," "responsible," and their antith- 
eses, and to turn them to account in the administration 
of punishment That idea now so cheap and seem- 
ingly so natural, so inevitable, which I suppose was 
even made to serve the purpose of an explanation of 
the origin of the feeling of justice upon earth, — the 
idea, that the malefactor deserves punishment , because 
he might have acted otherwise, is, in fact, an extremely 
late, nay, a refined form of human judgment and rea- 
soning; and he, who puts it into the beginning of 
history, will, very indelicately, sin against the psychol- 
ogy of early mankind. During the longest period of 
man's history punishment was not inflicted for the 
reason that the offender was held responsible for his 
deed ; that is to say, not upon the supposition that the 
guilty party alone was to be punished ; but rather, for 
that same reason for which parents even now-a-days 
punish their children : from ahger over a damage done, 
which anger vents itself against the wrong-doer, but 
is, at the same time, checked and modified by the idea, 
that every damage finds its equivalent in some thing or 
other and can actually be paid off, perhaps even by 
the wrong-doer's pain. Whence, ye ask, the power 
of this ancient, deep-rooted, and now perhaps inexstir- 
pable idea, the idea of an equivalence of wrong and 



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SECOND ESSAY 73 

pain? I have already betrayed the secret: — in the 
agreement between creditor and debtor, which is as old 
as the very existence of legal parties, and which in V 
its turn points back to the fundamental forms of buy- 
ing and selling, exchange of commerce and intercourse. 



The representation to ourselves of these circum- 
stances of agreement will of course, as is but natural 
to expect from all that has been said, give rise to 
much suspicion and antagonism against early mankind 
which created and permitted them. Just here promises 
are made; just here the problem is to make a memory 
for him who promises; just here, as we may suppose, 
will be a storehouse of all that is stern, cruel and 
painful. To awaken confidence for the promise of 
payment made by him, to guarantee the earnestness 
and sacredness of his promise, to impress his own con- 
sciousness with the fact that payment is an obligation 
and duty, the debtor will, by virtue of his agreement, 
consign by way of security in case of nonpayment to 
the creditor something which he still " possesses," — 
his body, e.g., or his wife or his freedom or his life 
(or even, under certain religious presuppositions, his 
blessedness, the salvation of his soul, and finally even 
his peace in the grave : such was the case in Egypt, 
where not even the grave afforded rest to the body 



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74 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

of the debtor from the pursuit of his creditor, — true 
enough, that precisely in the case of the Egyptians 
this rest was something very peculiar). More espe- 
cially, the creditor could subject the body of the debtor 
to all kinds of insult and torture, e.g., cut so much 
from it as seemed adequate to the magnitude of the 
debt; and, proceeding from this point of view, there 
existed everywhere, at an early date, careful estima- 
tions, often frightfully minute and circumstantial and 
sanctioned by law, as to the value of individual limbs 
and parts of the body. I regard it as a step in ad- 
vance and as the proof of a freer, more liberally judg- 
ing, -more Roman conception of law, when the Roman 
code of the twelve tables decreed the large or small 
quantity, which the creditors cut out in such a case, to 
be a matter of indifference "si plus minusve secuerunt, 
ne fraude esto." Let us make clear to ourselves the 
logic of this form of compensation : it is strange 
enough ! The equivalence is brought in in this man- 
ner that, in place of some direct advantage covering 
the loss (that is to say, in place of compensation by 
way of money, land or property of any kind) the cred- 
itor is conceded a sort of pleasurable feeling as his 
remuneration and compensation, — the feeling of pleas- 
ure arising from an arbitrary manifestation of power 
against some less powerful being, the keen delight 
"defaire le mal pour le plat sir de le /aire," the joy of 
doing violence: which joy will be appreciated more 



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SECOND ESSAV 75 

highly according as the position of the creditor is 
lower and farther down in the scale of society, and 
which he is very apt to regard as a delicious morsel, 
nay, the prelibation of a higher rank. By the admin- 
istration of punishment against the debtor, the creditor 
will become a sharer in a privilege of the masters. At 
last he also will for once be inspired by the elevating 
feeling of being allowed to despise and maltreat some- 
body as being " lower than himself " — or, at any rate, 
in case the proper power of punishment, the executive 
power, has already passed to the authorities, the feel- 
ing of seeing him despised and maltreated. The com- 
pensation, therefore, consists in a grant and claim upon 
cruelty. 



In this sphere, i.e., the sphere of the law of obliga- 
tion, the cradle of the world of moral concepts is to 
be found, — "guilt," "conscience," "duty," "sacredness 
of duty." Their origin, as the origin of everything 
great on earth, was for a long time sprinkled and thor- 
oughly saturated with blood. And might we not add 
that this world never again could rid itself entirely of 
a certain smell of blood and torture? (Not even ex- 
cepting the old Kant : the categorical imperative smells 
of cruelty . . . . ) Here also that dismal — and now 
perhaps inseparable — combination of the ideas of 
" guilt and suffering " was first made. To put the 



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76 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

question once again : in what way may suffering be a 
compensation for " debts ? " In that the act of making 
another suffer produced the highest kind of pleasure ; 
in that the loss (to which must be added the vexation 
caused by the loss) brought, by way of exchange, to 
the damaged party a most remarkable counter-pleas- 
ure : the making another suffer, — a true festival, as 
it were, — something which, as I said, was valued the 
more highly, the greater the contrast between it and 
the rank and social position of the creditor. This, 
however, I offer merely by way of conjecture : for the 
bottom of these subterranean things it is difficult to 
see, — disregarding even the fact that such a sight is 
painful ; and he who with heavy hand throws between 
these things the concept of "revenge," will, instead of 
making the task easier for himself, rather cut off and 
obscure his own view (for revenge leads, in its turn, 
back to the same problem, " How can the act of mak- 
ing another suffer be a satisfaction ? "). The feeling of 
delicacy, and still more the tartuffism of tame, domesti- 
cated animals (rather say — of modern men, rather say 
— of us) abhors, it seems to me, the energetic repre- 
sentation of the extent to which cruelty constituted 
the great festive joy of early mankind, and, in fact, is 
admixed as a necessary ingredient of nearly all their 
joys ; and on the other hand, the representation of the 
naivete", the innocence with which this desire of cruelty 
manifests itself; of the deliberate manner in which 



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SECOND ESSAY ?J 

"disinterested malignity" (or, in the words of Spinoza, 
sympathia malevolens) is posited as a normal attribute 
of man, i.e., as something to which his conscience with 
hearty will says Yes ! A keener eye will perhaps be 
aware even now of much of this oldest and most thor- 
ough of man's festive joys. In Beyond Good and Evil, 
aph, i8S (and before that in Dawn of tke Day, aph. 18, 
77 > 113), I have pointed out, with cautious finger, the 
steadily increasing spiritualisation and " divinification " 
of cruelty, which twines through the entire history of 
higher civilisation (and which, if taken in a deeper 
sense, even constitutes it). At any rate, the period is 
not yet so very distant, when princely weddings and 
first-class popular celebrations were inconceivable with- 
out executions, tortures or an auto-da-fe" ; and when, 
similarly, an aristocratic family was inconceivable with- 
out a being against whom all were at liberty to direct 
the shafts of their malice and banter. We recall, for 
instance, the case of Don Quixote at the court of the 
duchess. In reading Don Quixote we modern readers 
experience a bitter sensation upon our tongues, almost 
a torture, and hence we should, for this very reason, 
appear very unintelligible and unfathomable to the 
author of it and his contemporaries. They read it 
with the very best conscience, as the most cheerful 
of books ; they would almost — split with laughter. 
To see another suffer is pleasant; to make another V 
suffer is still more pleasant — a stern dictum this is, 



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78 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

but also a fundamental proposition, old, mighty, human, 
all-too-human, which, perhaps, even the apes would sign. 
For we are told that, in the devising of bizarre cruel- 
ties, the apes abundantly announce and, as it were, 
"prelude" man. No festival without cruelty: thus the 
oldest and longest history of man teaches us — and in 
punishment, also, there is so much that is festival! 



With such thoughts I am, by the bye, not at all will- 
ing to supply a fresh current of water for our pessi- 
mists upon their jarring and ill-sounding mill-wheels 
of life-weariness ; on the contrary, we expressly attest 
the fact, that formerly, when mankind did not as yet 
feel ashamed of its cruelty, life on earth was more pleas- 
ant than now that there exist pessimists. The, darksja- 
ing of the sky above man has ever increased in the same 
ratio that man's shame of man kept growing. The 
weary, pessimistic look, the mistrust towards the riddle 
of life, the chilling No of the surfeit of life — ■ these are 
not the symptoms of the e vilest periods of humanity. 
On the contrary, being swamp-plants, they appear only 
when the swamp to which they belong has sprung into 
existence. By that I mean the sickly effeminacy and 
moralisation, by means of which the animal " man " is 
taught to feel ashamed at last of all his instincts. On 
the road to become an " angel " (not to use a harder 



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SECOND ESSAY 79 

word in this connection) man has reared for himself 
that spoiled stomach and "furred" tongue, which ren- 
dered obnoxious to him not only the pleasure and inno- 
cence of the animal, but made life itself of ill taste to 
him: — so that at times he will stand before himself 
with shut nose and sum up, disapproving of them, the 
catalogue of his disagreeableness ("impure generation, 
nauseous alimentation in the womb, meanness of the 
matter from which man develops, fearful stench, secre- 
tion of saliva, urine and filth "). Now th at " suffering" 
always is made to march along .as the first oif. the argu- 
ments ^against existence, .and as. the most serious inter; 
Jog,SLtJSlXLJSS^k,Sii -it, we do well to recall the times in 
which the reverse opinion prevailed, because the pleas- 
ure of making another suffer was held to be indispen- 
sable and constituted a most potent charm, a special 
bait of seduction to life. Peradventure pain in those 
days — so much by way of consolation to tenderlings 
— did not smart so much as now ; thus at least would 
a physician be allowed to infer who has treated negroes 
(taking the negro as representative of prehistoric man) 
in cases of serious internal inflammation, such as drive 
almost to despair even the soundest-constitutioned 
European. This is not the case with negroes. (The 
curve of man's receptivity for pain seems, in fact, to 
undergo an uncommonly rapid and almost sudden 
lowering, as soon as the upper ten-thousand or ten- 
million of over-civilisation are once left behind, and I, for 



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SO A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

my part, do not doubt that, compared with one single 
painful night of one single, hysterical, dainty woman 
of culture, the sufferings of all animals so far ques- 
tioned, knife in hand, with a view to scientific answers, 
simply fall out of consideration.) Perchance the possi- 
bility is even admissible that this delight in cruelty has, 
in reality, not altogether become extinct : but that, in 
proportion to the augmented intensity of pain nowa- 
days, it only requires a certain sublimation and sub- 
tilisation ; it would, more especially, have to be trans- 
planted into the territory of the imaginative and the 
intellectual ; and be decorated with nothing but names 
so innocent as to banish every suspicion from even 
the most delicate hypocritical conscience. " Tragic 
pity" is. such a name; another is " les nostalgies de la 
croix." i^That which makes man revolt against suffer- 
ing, is not suffering as such, but the senselessness of 
suffering:/ neither for the Christian, however, who 
interpreted into suffering a complete system of secret 
machinery of salvation, nor for the naive man of still 
earlier times, who contrived to interpret all suffering 
with a view to the spectator and the begetter of suf- 
fering, did this senseless suffering exist. In order to 
make it possible to banish from the world and honestly 
deny all hidden, undiscovered and unwitnessed suffer- 
ing, man in those days was almost forced to invent 
gods and intermediary beings of every rank and degree, 
something, in short, also straying in secret abodes, see- 



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SECOND ESSAY 8l 

ing in the dark, and not very likely to let any interesting 
and painful exhibition escape its notice. By means of 
such inventions, to wit, life then practised the feat, which 
it has ever practised, — the feat of self-vindication, of 
vindicating its own "ills." At present other adjutory 
inventions would seem to be necessary for this purpose 
(life for instance regarded as riddle, or life as problem of 
perception). " All ills are justified, the sight of which 
edifies a god:" so ran in times of yore the logic of 
feeling. And rightly, considered, did it so run only in 
times of yore ? The gods conceived as the friends of 
cruet spectacles, — oh, how far this primeval concep- 
tion reaches over and into our European humanisation ! 
On this point Calvin, or Luther e.g., may be consulted. 
Certain it is at any rate that a people as late as the 
Greeks could think of no more delicious condiment of 
the happiness of its gods than the pleasures of cruelty. 
With what kind of eyes, do you think, Homer made 
his gods look down upon the fortunes of man ? What 
was the ultimate meaning of Trojan wars and similar 
tragic enormities? No doubt whatever: they were 
intended as festive games for the gods : and very likely, 
in so far as in such matters the poet — more than the 
rest of mankind — is of "godlike" tribe, as festive 
games also for poets .... Quite in the same manner, 
later on the moral philosophers of Greece represented 
to themselves the eyes of God as looking down upon 
the moral struggle, the heroism and self-torment of the 



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82 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

virtuous : the " Herakles of duty " acted upon a stage 
and was conscious of this fact ; virtue without witnesses 
was something quite inconceivable to this nation of 
actors. Might we not suppose, that that daring and so 
extremely fatal invention of the philosophers then first 
made for Europe, the invention of "free will," of abso- 
lute spontaneity of man as regards Good and Evil, was 
made with the express purpose of getting the right to 
have the concept, that the interest of the gods in man, 
and human virtue, could never be exhausted? On this 
terrene stage truly novel things — unheard-of agita- 
tions, complications, catastrophes — must never be 
wanting; such was their idea. An exclusively deter- 
ministically conceived world would have been divinable 
for gods, and thereby, before long also fatiguing, — 
reason enough for these friends of the gods, the philoso- 
phers, not to impute to them such a deterministic 
world ! All mankind of antiquity is full of delicate 
considerations for the "spectator," — being, as it was, 
an essentially public, an essentially ostentatious world 
to which happiness without feasts and spectacles was 
inconceivable. — And, once again, in grand punishment 
also, there is so much that is festival. 

8 

The feeling of guilt — to resume the trend of our 
investigation — and of personal obligation has, as we 
have seen, its origin in the oldest and most primitive 



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Vr* E* * ' 3 SECOND ESSAY 83 

personal relationship which ever existed, — the relation- 
ship between buyer and seller, creditor and debtor. 
Here for the first time person stood face to face with 
person, here for the first time person weigfud itself 
with person. No stage of civilisation, however inferior 
it might be, has yet been found without a trace of this 
relationship being noticeable. To fix prices, to adjust 
values, to invent equivalents, to exchange things — all 
this has to such an extent preoccupied the first and 
earliest thought of man, that, in a certain sense, it con- 
stitutes thinking itself : here the oldest kind of sagacity 
was reared, here likewise the first beginning of man's 
pride, of his feeling of superiority as against the re- 
maining animal world, might be supposed to be found. 
Perhaps our word " man" {manas) expresses something 
of even this self-assertion. Man named himself as the 
being which weighs values, which weighs and values, 
as the " valuing animal as such." Buying and selling, 
together with their psychological appurtenances, ante- 
date even the beginnings of any forms of social or- 
ganisation and corporation. The nascent feeling of 
interchange, contract, debt, right, obligation, adjustment 
was transferred from the most rudimentary form of 
personal right to the crudest and most incipient social 
complexes (in their relation to similar complexes) to- 
gether with the custom of comparing, measuring, cal- 
culating might by might. For the eye was adjusted 
to this perspective. And with that heavy consistency 



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84 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

peculiar to the clumsily-moving (but hVonce in motion, 
persistently moving in one direction) thought of early 
mankind, the grand generalisation was soon arrived at 
" that all things have their own price ; that everything 
can be paid off " — the oldest and most naive moral 
canon oi justice, the beginning of all "goodnaturedness," 
of all "equity," "good will," and "objectivity" on 
earth. Justice in this first stage means the good will 
among people who are possessed of approximately 
^ equal power, to come to a mutual agreement and 
"understanding" by way of adjustment — and, as 
regards the less powerful, to compel them to accept 
some adjustment. 



If measured by the standard of primeval times (which 
primeval times, by the bye, are at all times either 
'present or again possible), the community finds itself 
in the same important relation to its members, — the 
relation of the creditor to his debtors. We live as 
members of a community, we enjoy the advantages of 
a community (oh, what advantages! we sometimes 
underrate them now-a-days), we live sheltered and 
shielded, in peace and confidence, quite at ease as re- 
gards certain injuries and hostilities to which the man 
without, the peaceless one, is exposed. Every German 
is alive to the significance attaching to the original 



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SECOND ESSAY 85 

meaning of the German word for misery, ilend; 1 and 
it is just with regard to these injuries and hostilities 
that people have bound and pledged themselves to the 
community. If they do not so, what will happen ? 
Community, the disappointed creditor, will have itself 
indemnified, as well as possible ; thus much is certain. 
The question here has least to do with the immediate 
damage occasioned by the damager. Apart from it, 
the criminal is, first of all, a " breaker," — a breaker of 
a contract and of a word given — towards tke whole, in 
regard to all possessions and advantages of the common 
weal of which up to that time he had enjoyed his share. 
The criminal is a debtor, who not only fails to pay back 
the advantages and advances received, but even ag- 
gresses his creditor. Hence he forfeits, justly enough, 
for the future not only all these possessions and advan- 
tages, — but, besides, he is now again reminded as to tke 
real meaning of these possessions. The anger of the dam- 
aged creditor — community — plunges him back into 
the wild, out-law condition, against which so far protec- 
tion had been granted him. Community repudiates 
him, and now all sorts of hostilities may wreak them- 
selves upon him. "Punishment," in this stage of 
civilisation, is simply the image, the mimus of normal 
conduct, as manifested towards a hated, disarmed and 
cast-down enemy, who has forfeited not only all privi- 

1 Elend meant originally the sojourn in a foreign country, then the 
sufferings connected with such a sojourn, and means to-day misery. 



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86 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

leges and all protection, but even every claim to mercy ; 
it is, therefore, the martial law and triumphal celebra- 
tion of the v m metis I with all its unrelentingness and 
cruelty; — which serves to account for the fact that 
war itself (including the sacrificial cult of war) has fur- 
nished all the forms in which punishment makes its 
appearance in history. 



IO 



As its power increases, a community will attach less 
weight to the transgressions of the individual, inasmuch 
as these transgressions are now alleged to be far less 
calculated to endanger and subvert the body politic. 
The wrong-doer is no longer " rendered peaceless" and 
cast out ; public anger may no longer vent itself against 
him with the same unbridled fury as formerly. On the 
contrary, the wrong-doer is now even carefully defended 
and shielded by the community against this anger, 
especially against the wrath of those immediately in- 
jured. The traits characterising ever more sharply the 
further development of penal law are the following : 
the compromise with the anger of those immediately 
suffering from the misdeed; an effort to localise the 
case and to guard against further, and perhaps even 
general, participation and disturbances; attempts to 
find equivalents and to settle the whole affair {compo- 
sitio); above all, the ever more definitely pronounced 



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SECOND ESSAY 87 

will to regard every transgression as payable in some 
way or other, — that is to say, to isolate, in some meas- 
ure at least, the transgressor from his deed. With the 
growing power and self-c onset ousn ess of a community, 
the rigour of the penal laws will always lessen ; while 
every weakening and serious endangering of the com- 
munity will be followed by a reappearance of the 
sterner forms of the penal laws. In proportion as his 
wealth increased, the creditor has at all times become 
more humane; and the amount of detriment to which 
he may be exposed without suffering from the loss, will 
at last even be made the standard of estimation for his 
wealth. We might even conceive a consciousness of 
power on the part of society so far advanced as to 
permit itself the noblest of all luxuries which it can 
afford — to let her wrong-doer go unpunished. "Of 
what concern for me are my parasites ? " society might 
say. " Let them live and prosper : I am still a match 
for them !".,,. Justice, which began with the decla- 
ration : " All is payable, all must be paid off," ends by 
closing its eyes to those unable to pay and letting them 
go ; it ends, like all good things on earth, by abrogating 
itself. This self abrogation of justice — we know, by 
what excellent name it calls itself — mercy. It remains, 
as is self-evident, the privilege of the mightiest one — 
or, more exactly, it is his " Beyond the law." 



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88 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

II 

Here a word, by way of refutation, against certain 
attempts recently made to seek for the origin of justice 
in quite another field, — the field of resentment. This 
plant (as we may whisper into the ears of our psychol- 
ogists, in case they should themselves like to study 
resentment closely for once) flourishes now most lus- 
ciously among anarchists and anti-Semites, in secrecy, 
by the bye, where it has always flourished, like the 
violet, with different odour however. And since it is 
law universal that like will beget like, we shall not be 
surprised to witness attempts proceeding from such 
spheres, such as have been made at various times 
(compare above the First Essay, section 14) to sanc- 
tion revenge under the name of justice (as if justice 
were in reality only an advanced stage of the develop- 
ment of the feeling of wrong-suffering) and by hon- 
ouring revenge, to re-establish all re-active emotions 
whatsoever. This latter effect I should least of all 
object to; with reference to the whole problem of 
biology (in respect to which the value of these emotions 
has hitherto been underestimated) it would even seem 
to me to be a desert. That to which alone I call atten- 
tion, is the fact that this new nuance of scientific 
equity (in favour of hatred, envy, jealousy, suspicion, 
rancour, revenge) takes its origin from the spirit of 
resentment itself. For this " scientific equity " comes 



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SECOND ESSAY 89 

to a sudden halt and yields to manifestations of mortal 
hatred and prejudice as soon as it has to do with 
another group of emotions, the biological value of 
which is, in my opinion, far greater than that of the 
re-active feelings, and which, for this very reason, 
have a still greater claim to scientific estimation and 
appreciation. I mean the specifically active emotions, 
such as thirst of power, avidity and the like. (E. Diih- 
ring, The Value of Life ; A Course of Philosophy ; x 
in fact, all his works.) So much may be said against 
this tendency in general. But as regards the particu- 
lar proposition of Duhring, that the home of justice 
is to be sought for in the territory of the re-active feel- 
ings : out of love of truth, completely turning round 
his statement, we have to propose this different view : 
the last bit of ground conquered by the spirit of justice 
is the territory of re-active feelings. If it ever hap- 
pens, that the just man is just even against him who 
has injured him (and not merely cold, moderate, re- 
served, indifferent; to be just is always a positive 
conduct); if, even when attacked by personal insult, 
derision, slander, the lofty, bright, mild-and-deep-vis- 
ioned objectivity of the just and judging eye is not 
dimmed, good, then this is a bit of perfection and high- 
est mastery on earth — something, in fact, which, in 
this case, prudence tells us not to expect, and in which 
at any rate it is advisable not to believe too readily. 
1 Dcr Werth des Lebens; Cursus der Philosopbie. 



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90 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

Certain it is on the average that, even in the case 
of the most honest persons, a small dose of offence, 
malice and insinuation will suffice to force their biood 
to, and fairness from the brow. The active, aggres- 
sive, and trartsgressive man is, in any case, yet a hun- 
dred degrees nearer to justice than the re-active man ; 
for the active one is not forced to a false and biassed 
estimation of his object as the re-active is. And hence, 
as a matter of fact, the aggressive man, being also the 
stronger, braver, nobler man, has, at all times, had 
the freer eye and better conscience for his party. 
Reversely we see at once whose conscience must be 
held responsible for the invention of "bad con- 
science." It is the man of resentment. And finally, 
let people but pay attention to history. In what 
sphere, we ask, has the execution of law and the 
requirement of law been at home on earth ? Perad- 
venture in the sphere of reactive man ? By no means. 
Rather in that of active, strong, spontaneous, ag- 
gressive men. Historically considered, — and be this 
said with the purpose of discomforting the afore- 
mentioned agitator (who somewhere confesses of him- 
self: "the doctrine of vengeance is, as it were, the 
red thread of justice twining through all my writings 
and endeavours"), — law represents the war waged 
just against the re-active feelings by the active and 
aggressive powers, part of whose strength was directed 
to restraining and curbing the extravagance of re-active 



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SECOND ESSAY 91 

pathos and of compelling the opponent to an agree- 
ment. Wherever justice is practised, wherever justice 
is maintained, we observe how a stronger power, as 
regards weaker, subordinate powers (either groups or 
individuals), will seek for means of putting an end to 
the blind fury of resentment raging among the latter, 
partly by withdrawing the object of resentment from 
the clutches of revenge, partly by placing instead of 
revenge, the war against the enemies of peace and 
order, partly by inventing, proposing, or, according 
to circumstances, even enforcing adjustments, partly 
by establishing certain fixed equivalents of injury as 
a norm, to which then once for all resentment must 
address itself. The most decisive step, however, taken 
by the highest power against the overwhelming might 
of contrary feelings and after-feelings — and this step 
is always taken as soon as this power is strong enough 
for undertaking it — is the establishment of law, the 
imperative declaration as to what, in its opinion, is 
to be regarded as right and lawful or as wrong and 
forbidden. By treating, after the establishment of 
law, transgressions and cases of arbitrary conduct on 
the part of individuals or entire groups as a revolt 
against the supreme power itself, the feeling of those 
subjected to its sway is diverted from the immediate 
damage resulting from such crimes, and in this manner 
the reverse result is reached from that which is desired 
by all revenge, — which notices and recognises only 



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92 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

the point of view of the wronged party. From this 
time forward the eye gets accustomed to an ever more 
impersonal estimation of the deed, even the eye of the 
wronged party itself (though, of course, his eye last of 
all, as already observed). Hence, only after the law has 
[ *.'"' v once become established, do "right" and "wrong" exist 
(not, as Diihring argues, after the act of violation has 
been done). To speak of right and wrong in itself, is 
altogether meaningless; in itself 'the act of injuring, vio- 
lating, exploiting, destroying cafij-of course, not be any- 
thing "wrong," inasmuch as life Essentially, i.e., in its 
fundamental functions, works injury, violation, exploita- 
tion and destruction, and cannot be conceived otherwise. 
Indeed, we are even forced to submit to still more 
delicate truths : such as the fact that, viewed from the 
highest biological point of view, legal conditions can 
never be anything else but exceptional conditions, that 
is to say, partial restrictions of the proper will of life 
which seeks power ; and subordinating themselves to its 
collective aim in their capacity of separate means, i.e., 
means for bringing about greater units of power. A 
legal order conceived as sovereign and universal ; not 
as a means of which different complexes of power 
avail themselves in their struggle with one another, 
but as a means against all war whatsoever — such as 
is suggested, for instance by the communistic pattern 
of Diihring, which would enforce the principle that 
every will should treat every other will as its equal — 



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SECOND ESSAY 93 

such an order would be a principle hostile to life, 
tending to destroy and disintegrate life, an outrage 
upon the future of man, a sign of languor, a by-way 
to the Nothing. 

12 

Here one more word on the origin and purpose of 
punishment — two problems which are and should be 
kept separate. Unfortunately, however, they are com- 
monly confounded. And how do our moral genealo- 
gists go to work in this matter ? Naively, as always : 
they find, by seeking some purpose in punishment, that 
of vengeance, for instance, or of determent, and then 
innocently set this purpose at the head, as the causa 
fiendi of punishment, and — that settles it. But the 
" purpose in law " 1 can least of all be used for a his- 
tory of the origin of law. On the contrary, for every 
kind of history there exists no more important proposi- 
tion than even this (which it has taken so much pains 
to acquire, but which, once acquired, should be acquired 
for good), namely the proposition that the cause of the 
origin of a thing and its ultimate utility, its actual 
application and linking into a system of purpose, lie 
toto coelo asunder ; that a thing which is present, a thing 

1 An allusion to Professor Ibering'a celebrated book " Der Zweck int 
Recht " which is, among other things, the first work speaking of a " mor- 
ality of custom" on which Nietzsche lays so much stress in the First Essay 
of the present work. 



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94 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

which has come about in some way, is ever again by 
some power superior to it interpreted to contain new 
purposes, is arrested anew, is transformed and directed 
to a new use ; and that finally all " happening " in or- 
ganic nature implies an over-powering, over-mastering, 
which in turn implies a re-interpretation and adjust- 
ment, by which, of necessity, the past " sense " and 
"purpose" become obscured and even altogether ex- 
tinguished. Assuming the utility of some physio- 
logical organ (or, let us say, a legal institute, or social 
custom, or political usage, or some form of the arts or 
a religious cult) to be perfectly understood, such is, as 
yet, far from being the case with respect to its origin ; 
unpleasant and unwelcome though this truth may sound 
to older ears, — for from times immemorial it was cus- 
tomary to think that by understanding the demonstrable 
purpose, the utility of a thing (or form, or institution) 
the reason for its origin was also understood ; the eye 
being explained as having been made for the purpose 
of seeing, the hand for the purpose of seizing. So, 
also punishment was conceived as having been in- 
vented for the purpose of punishing. But all pur- 
poses, all utilities, are but indications of the fact, that 
, some will to power has become master over something 
inferior in power, and has, proceeding from itself, as- 
signed to it the meaning of a function ; and the entire 
history of a "thing," an organ, a custom may, in this 
way, be one unbroken sign-series of constantly chang- 



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SECOND ESSAY 95 

ing interpretations and adjustments, the causes of 
which need not even be connected among themselves, 
but may, according to circumstances, follow upon, and 
replace one another quite at random. By no means, 
therefore, is the " evolution " of a thing (or a custom, 
or an organ) its own progresses towards a goal, still less 
a progresses logicus advancing in a straight line and 
with the least expenditure of power and pains, — but 
rather a series of more or less important, more or less 
independent processes of over-powering, the scene of 
which the thing is; to which must be added, in each 
case, the amount of energy consumed in the opposi- 
tion to such processes, as also the attempts in the way 
of form-changes undergone for the purpose of defence 
and re-action, and finally, also the results of successful 
counter-actions. The form is mobile, but the " sense " 
is still more so ... . The same phenomenon is to be 
observed in the make-up of each individual organism : 
every essential growth of the whole will cause the 
"sense" of the individual organs to shift According 
to circumstances the partial destruction of these or- 
gans, their diminution in number (for instance, by the 
annihilation of intermediary members) may be a sign 
of growing power and perfection. Rather say: the 
partial loss of usefulness, the stinting and degenera-' 
tion, the loss of sense and expediency, in one word, 
death, is among the conditions of true progress : which 
progress always appears in the form of a will and way 



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96 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

to greater power and is always enforced at the expense 
of a large number of lesser powers. The amount of 
" progress " is, in fact, even measured by the mass of 
all that had to be sacrificed in order to bring it about: 
mankind en masse sacrificed in order to insure the 
4 growth of a single, stronger species of man — that 
would be progress .... — I emphasise this main 
point of view of historical methodics, and ail the more 
so for the reason that at bottom it runs counter to the 
now reigning instinct and modem taste, which would 
rather reconcile itself to the absolute fortuitousness 
and even mechanistical nonsensicalness of all "hap- 
pening " than to the theory of a will to power as 
manifesting itself in all happening. The democratic 
idiosyncrasy against all that sways or wills to sway, 
modern misarckism (to coin a bad word for a bad 
cause), has gradually become merged to such an ex- 
' tent into, and so taken on the guise of, spirituality, 
keenest spirituality, that to-day it forces', and is allowed 
to force, its way, step by step, into the exactest and 
seemingly most objective sciences; in fact, it seems to 
me to have already succeeded in usurping the entire 
science of physiology and biology, much to its disadvan- 
tage, as is self-evident, — for it has eliminated from this 
science a fundamental notion, the notion of functional 
activity. Labouring under this idiosyncrasy, "adapta- 
tion," that is to say, a second-rate activity, in fact, a 
mere re-activity, is pushed into the foreground, and in- 



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SECOND ESSAY 97 

deed, life itself has even been defined as " a continuous 
better adjustment of internal relations to external rela- 
tions " (Mr. Herbert Spencer). But this is to mistake 
the true nature and function of life, which is will to 
power. It is to overlook the principial priority which 
the spontaneous, aggressive, transgressive, new-inter- 
pretative and new-directive forces possess, from the 
result of which "adaptation" follows. It is to deny 
the sovereign office of the highest functionaries in 
the organism, in which functionaries the will to life 
appears as an active and formative principle. The 
readers will recall here what Huxley objected to in 
Spencer — his "Administrative Nihilism." But we 
have to deal here with much more than mere " admin- 
istration " . . . . 

13 

In punishment, therefore — to return to our theme, 
namely punishment — two things are to be discerned: 
on the one hand, the relatively durable element, the 
usage, the act, the drama, a certain strict sequence 
of procedures; and on the other hand, the element 
of mobility, the sense, the purpose, the expectation con- 
nected with the execution of such procedures. And 
true to the principal point of view of historical method- 
ics, as set forth in the last section, in this statement 
it is assumed, without further demonstration, per analo- 
giam, that the procedure itself ante-dates its applica- 



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98 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

tion as a means of punishment; that the latter was, 
only at a later date, laid into, interpreted into the 
procedure (which had for a long while existed, but had 
been differently understood); that, in short, the case 
is quite different from what our naive genealogists of 
morals and law have so far assumed, who, without 
exception, conceived the procedure as having been 
invented^toT the purpose of punishment, even as the 
hand was ■formerly conceived as invented for the pur- 
pose of seizing. But again, as regards the other 
element in punishment, the element of mobility, the 
"sense," in a very late stage of civilisation (such as, 
e.g., that of modern Europe) the concept "punish- 
ment " implies no longer a single sense but a com- 
plete synthesis of "senses." In fact, the entire past 
history of punishment, of its utilisation for the most 
heterogeneous purposes, crystallises *at last into a kind 
of unity which is difficult to reduce, to analyse info 
its elements, and which, as must be emphasised, defies 
each and every definition. (It is impossible to-day to 
offer a definite answer to the question as to the actual 
wherefore of punishment. All concepts in which an 
entire process is semiotically contained escape defini- 
tion. Only that which has no history is definable.) 
In an earlier stage, however, that synthesis of 
"senses" appears as yet somewhat more reducible, 
somewhat more shiftable; we may still observe how, 
in each individual case, the constituent elements of 



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SECOND ESSAY 99 

the synthesis change their value, and re-arrange them- 
selves accordingly, so that at one time this, at another 
that element prevails and dominates at the expense 
of the rest, and that even, circumstances favouring, 
some one element (such as, for instance, the purpose 
of determent) seems to render void all other elements. 
To convey at least an idea of the vagueness, the sec- 
ondariness, the accidentalness attaching to the " sense " 
of punishment, and to show how one and the same 
procedure is utilised for, interpreted for, and adjusted 
to fundamentally different ends, I insert the following 
scheme here, which has suggested itself to me on the 
basis of comparatively scanty and accidental material. 
Punishment as rendering the criminal harmless, as a 
preventive of further mischief. Punishment as the 
sufferer's compensation for the damage, as payment * 
in any form (even as compensation in the form of an 
emotion). Punishment as the isolation of a disturbed 
equilibrium, in order to prevent spreading of the dis- 
turbance. Punishment as a means of inspiring others 
with fear for those who decree and award punish- 
ment. Punishment as a kind of equivalent for the 
advantages which the criminal has so far enjoyed 
(when, for instance, he is utilised as a slave in the 
quarries). Punishment as the elimination of a degen- 
erating element (sometimes even of an entire branch, 
as is instanced by Chinese law ; as a means, therefore, 
for preserving the purity of the race or for the perma- 



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100 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

nent establishment of a social type). Punishment as 
a festival, namely as the violation and taunts practised 
against an enemy at last subdued. Punishment as the 
making of a memory, be it for him who suffers pun- 
ishment (so-called correction) or be it for the spectator 
witnessing the execution. Punishment as the payment 
of a fee stipulated by the power which protects the 
evil-doer against the excesses of revenge. Punishment 
as a compromise with the natural state of revenge, in 
so far as the latter continues to be maintained and 
claimed as a privilege by mighty clans. Punishment 
as a declaration and measure of war against an enemy 
of peace, law, order, the authorities, — an enemy who, 
with such means as war will prompt, is combated, as 
being dangerous to the community, as having violated 
the contract underlying the community, as an insur- 
gent, traitor and peace-breaker. 

This list will not be complete ; and yet, as appears 
from it, punishment is brimful of utilities of every sort. 
So much the more readily, therefore, we may venture 
to withdraw from it a certain presumable utility, which, 
it is true, by the popular view of the matter, is held 
to be its most essential utility; (the belief in punish- 
ment, which for more than one reason is shaky at 
present, finds just in it its firmest support.) The value 



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SECOND ESSAY 10 1 

attributed to punishment is supposed to consist in the 
fact that it awakens in one guilty the feeling of guilt; 
in it, the proper imtrumentum of that mental re-action 
which is known as "bad conscience" or "prick of con- 
science," is sought for. But this explanation violates 
reality and psychology even with respect to the prob- 
lem in its modern aspect, and still more so, as regards 
the longest period of man's history, — the prehistoric 
period ! True remorse just among criminals and con- 
victs is very rare ; prisons and reformatories me not 
places which favour the growth of this species of 
" gnaw-worm " — on this point all conscientious inves- 
tigators agree, who, in many cases reluctantly enough 

and against their own most private desires, pronounce 

such a judgment. All in all, punishment hardens and 
renders people more insensible; it concentrates; it 
increases the feeling of estrangement; it strengthens 
the power of resistance. If cases occur at all in which 
people's energy is really broken by punishment, and 
a pitiable prostration and self-humiliation follows, such 
a result is certainly still less comforting than the aver- 
age effect of punishment which is characterised by a 
dry, sombre earnestness. And, if* moreover, we take 
into consideration the thousands of years elapsing be- 
fore the entrance of man into history, we may, without 
hesitation, say that punishment itself, more than any 
other factor, served to retard the development of the 
feeling of guilt, — at any rate, as regards the victims 



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102 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

affected by the punishing power. Let us, above all, 
not undervalue the measure in which, just by the spec- 
tacle of the legal procedure and punishment, the crimi- 
nal will be prevented from feeling his own deed, the 
kind of action he did, to be, as suck, objectionable; 
for he sees precisely the same kinds of actions per- 
formed, and approved of, done with good conscience, 
in the service o£ justice, such as espionage, outwit- 
ting, bribery, trap-setting, the entire art of the police- 
man and indicter, with all its crafty and underhand 
machinery, and further the principial practice (which 
not even emotion will excuse), of spoliation, violation, 
dishonouring, imprisoning, torturing, murdering, as we 
find it in the various kinds of punishment, — actions, 
therefore, which are by no means in themselves repu- 
diated and condemned by his judges, but only in a 
certain respect and application. "Bad conscience," 
this most dismal and interesting plant of our subter- 
ranean vegetation, did not grow from out this soil, — 
indeed, for the longest time, in the consciousness of 
those who passed judgments and distributed punish- 
ment, nothing was expressed of the concept of having 
to deal with a " guilty " person ; but only with a 
damage-doer, with a piece of irresponsible destiny. 
And the victim himself whom punishment befell, 
again like a piece of destiny, experienced no other 
"inner pain" than that which any sudden, unforeseen 
event will produce, some terrible catastrophe, such 



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SECOND ESSAY 10$ 

as the falling of a crushing rock against which there 
is no resistance. 

15 

This suggested itself, in very captious wise, to 
Spinoza (much to the annoyance of his interpreters 
who do all they can to misunderstand him in this 
^passage — so Kuno Fischer), when some afternoon, 
; grating away at some remembrance or other, the 
thought occupied him as to what of the celebrated 
morsus conscientia had remained for him who had 
relegated the notions of Good and Evil to the realm 
of human imaginations, and strenuously defended the 
'.honour of his "free "God against those blasphemers 
maintaining that God did all sub rations boni ("but 
this would be equivalent to subordinating God to fate 
and were, forsooth, the greatest of absurdities" — ). 
The world,. .for Spinoza, had returned to that state 
of innocence in which it lived before the invention of 
bad conscience. What, by this logic, had become of 
the morsus conscientieet The opposite, he at last said 
to himself, of gaudium, a sadness accompanied by the 
notion of a past event which has turned out contrary 
to all expectations. Etk. Hi. propos. xviii, schol i. H. 
Not otherwise than Spinoza evil-doers have felt in 
regard to their "offence" for thousands of years when 
reached by punishment. "Here something has unex- 
pectedly gone wrong," and not: "I should not have 



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104 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

done so." They submitted to punishment, even as we 
submit to a disease, or calamity, or death, with that 
daring fatalism sans rtvolte by which, in the handling 
of life, e.g., the Russians enjoy still an advantage over 
us occidentalists. If in past ages the deed was criti> 
cised at all, it was prudence which suggested criticism. 
The real effect of punishment is, undoubtedly, in the 
first instance to be sought in an intensification of pru- 
dence ; in a lengthening of memory, a will to approach 
one's deeds in future more carefully and with greater 
suspicion and secrecy; in the recognition of the fact 
that, to many undertakings, our strength is absolutely 
inadequate; in a kind of improvement of self-judg- 
ment. What by punishment can really be accom- 
plished all in all, in the case of man and animal, is an 
augmentation of fear, an intensification of prudence, 
a subjugation of passions. And in so doing, punish- 
ment tames man, but it does not make him "better." 
In fact, the opposite might even be maintained with 
better reasons. (" Damage suffered makes you wise," 
says a popular proverb : in so far as it makes wise, so 
also it makes mean. Fortunately, it very often makes 
stupid.) 

16 

At this point of our inquiry a first provisional ex- 
pression of my own hypothesis on the origin of " bad 
conscience " can hardly be avoided. It is not easy to 



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SECOND ESSAY I OS 

make it intelligible and requires long and earnest 
attention and consideration. Bad conscience I take 
as the deep sickness which man had to fall into, when 
under the pressure of that most radical of all changes 
to which he was ever subjected, — that change which 
he experienced when he found himself for ever locked 
within the ban of society and peace. Precisely as 
the water-animals must have felt, when forced to the 
alternative of either becoming land-animals or of per- 
ishing, even so in the case of men, those semi-ani- 
mals happily adapted to wildness, warring, roving and 
adventure. All at once their instincts were rendered 
worthless and "unharnessed." They were expected 
henceforth to go on their feet and to "carry them- 
selves," whereas all along they had been carried by 
the water; a terrible heaviness lay upon them. For 
the execution of the simplest functions they found 
themselves too clumsy; for this new and strange 
world their old, reliable guides sufficed no longer — the 
unconsciously-regulating and safely-leading instincts. 
They were reduced to the necessity of thinking, rea- 
soning, calculating, of combining causes and effects 
(what misery !), to their consciousness, — their meanest 
and least reliable organ ! I believe that never before 
on earth did there exist a like feeling of misery, a simi- 
lar state of leaden un comfortableness. And, worse 
still, those old instincts had by no means ceased all 
at once to make their demands! Qnly it was diffi- 



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I06 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

^ult and rarely possible for man to comply with their 
claims. As, a general rule they had to seek for new 
and, metaphorically speaking, subterranean satisfao^ 
tions. All instincts which do not discharge them- 
selves outwards will receive an inward direction — this 
is what I call the internalization of man. It is only 
by this process that that grows up to man which later 
on is called his "soul" The entire inner world of 
man, being originally thin, as if it were stretched be- 
' tween two hides, has become expanded and extended, 
■ has received depth, breadth and height, in the same 
measure as man's outward discharges have been 
checked. Those terrible bulwarks by means of which 
a political organisation guarded itself against the an- 
cient instincts of freedom (punishments are first of all 
among these bulwarks) effected the result that all 
those instincts of wild, free and roving man turned 
inward against man himself. Enmity, cruelty, the 
pleasures of persecution, of surprise, of change, of 
destruction — imagine all these turning against the 
owners of such instincts : this is the origin of " bad 
conscience." Man who, from a lack of outer enemies 
and obstacles and because he found himself wedged 
into the unbearable straits and regularities of custom, 
impatiently tore, persecuted, gnawed at, maltreated 
himself, — stirred up man, this captive animal grating 
against the bars of his cage, intended to be " tamed," 
this creature deprived of, and pining for its home, the 



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SECOND ESSAY IO7 

desert, he, who was compelled to make out of him- 
self an adventure, a torture chamber, an unsafe and 
dangerous wilderness — this fool, this homesick and 
despairing captive, became the inventor of "bad con- 
science." And, with it, the greatest and most dismal 
morbidity was instituted from which mankind has not 
as yet recovered, the suffering of man from man, from 
himself: the consequence of a violent breaking with 
his past animal history, a leaping and plunging, so 
to speak, into other states and conditions of existence, 
a declaration of war against the old instincts, on which 
so far his strength, his pleasure and his terribleness 
had depended. Let us at once add that, on the other 
hand, with the fact of the existence upon earth of 
a self-antagonising, again st-s elf -directed animal soul, 
something so new, deep, unheard-of, enigmatical, self- 
contradictory, future-promising was likewise given, that 
the aspect of the earth had therewith undergone an 
essential change. And truly, divine spectators were 
necessary in order to appreciate the spectacle which 
thereby was inaugurated and of which the outcome 
can not as yet be imagined, — a spectacle too fine, too 
wonderful, too paradoxical for its possibly being a 
mere meaningless and ludicrous side-show upon some 
ridiculous star. Man ever since that time has counted 
among the oddest and most exciting hap-hazard throws 
practised by the " great child " of Heraclitus, call it as 
you will, Zeus or chance. Man awakens for himself 



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108 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

an interest, a suspense, a hope, almost a confidence 
that something important is about to happen, that 
something is in preparation, that man is not an end, 
but merely a way, an interact, a bridge, a great 
promise .... 

17 

Our hypothesis on the origin of bad conscience pre- 
supposes first of all that that change did not take 
place gradually, or spontaneously, and did not repre- 
sent an organic ingrowing into new conditions, but 
rather a rupture, a leap, a compulsion, an unavoidable 
fate against which there was no opposition, and not 
even any resentment. Furthermore, that the fitting 
of a mass of people until then shapeless and unde- 
fined into a fixed form beginning, as it did, with an 
act of violence, could ipso facto only be accomplished 
by a whole series of acts of violence, — and hence, 
that the first " state " made its appearance in the form 
of a terrible tyranny, a violent and regardless piece 
of machinery which kept grinding away till such a 
raw-material, half men, half animals, was not only 
thoroughly kneaded and pliant, but also fashioned. I 
made use of the word "state." It is plain on the 
face of it what it means — any herd of flaxen-haired 
robber-beasts, a conqueror and master race, which, 
organised for war and possessing the power of or- 
ganisation, will unhesitatingly lay its terrible clutches 



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SECOND ESSAY IO9 

upon some population perhaps vastly superior in num- 
bers but as yet shapeless and roving. This is the 
origin of the "state" on earth; the fantastic theory 
which would have it begin by an "agreement," I 
should think, is done away with. He who can com- 
mand, he who is a " master " by nature, he who in deed 
and gesture behaves violently — what has he to do 
with agreements 1 Such beings are not reckoned with ; 
they come as fate will come, without reason, common 
sense, indulgence, pretext ; they appear as a flash of 
lightning appears, too terrible, too sudden, too con- 
vincing, too " different " to be even so much as hated. 
Their work is an instinctive creating of forms, impress- 
ing of forms — they are the most involuntary, most 
unconscious of all artists ; —wherever they appear, 
something new will at once be created, a governmental 
organism which lives, in which the individual parts 
and functions are defined and brought into correlation, 
and in which nothing at all is tolerated unless some 
"sense" with respect to the whole be implanted in 
it. They are innocent, as regards the meaning of 
guilt, of responsibility, of regard, — these born organ- 
isers; they are ruled by that terrible artist-egotism 
which looks stern like bronze and knows itself to be 
justified to all eternity, in the "work," as the mother 
knows herself justified in the child. (" Bad conscience " 
has not grown among them, thus much is self-evident, 
— but it would never have grown at all but for them, J 



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IIO A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

that ill-shaped growth ; it would be wanting altogether 
if, beneath the blows of their hammer, their artist- 
violence, an immense quantity of freedom, had not 
disappeared from the world, or at any rate from visi- 
bility, and become latent, as it were. This instinct of 
freedom, suppressed, drawn back and imprisoned in 
consciousness and finally discharging and venting itself 
only inwards, against self: only this is the beginning 
of bad conscience. 

18 

Let us guard ourselves against thinking lightly of 
this entire phenomenon for the mere reason that, from 
the very outset, it is unsightly and painful. For at 
bottom the same active force which — only on a greater 
scale — is at work in these perforce-artists and organ- 
isers, and sets up states, creates-^ but on a smaller, 
pettier scale, and acting inward and backward, " in 
the labyrinth of the breast " (in the words of Goethe) — 
bad conscience and erects negative ideals for itself ; — 
that very same instinct of freedom (or, expressing my- 
self my own way, the will to power). Only in this 
case the stuff upon which this form-creative and vio- 
lating power acts, is man himself, his entire ancient 
animal self — and not, as in the case of that other and 
more ostensible phenomenon, the other man, the other 
men. This secret self-violation, this artist-cruelty, this 
lust of giving to one's self as being a heavy, unyield- 



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SECOND ESSAY III 

ing, passive stuff, a form of burning into it a will, a 
criticism, an opposition, a contempt, a No, — this dis- 
mal and frightfully-lustful work of a voluntarily-divided 
soul which, because it delights to make suffer, makes 
itself suffer, — this entire activic "bad conscience" 
has (my readers foresee the result) at last, being the 
true womb and cradle of ideal and imaginative events, 
among other things, brought to light an exuberance 
of new and startling beauty and assertion and, possi- 
bly, even beauty itself .... For, indeed, what would 
be beautiful, if contradiction had not become previ- 
ously conscious of itself, if ugliness had not previously 
said to itself: "I am ugly?" .... This hint will 
at least serve to make the riddle less puzzling as to 
how far in such self-contradictory concepts as un- 
selfishness, self-denial, self-sacrifice an indication of an 
ideal, a beauty can be given. And one thing, I do 
not doubt, will be known for the future, — -it is the 
nature of the lust which unselfish, self-denying, self- 
sacrificing man experiences: this lust is a sort of 
cruelty. — So much, for the present, on the origin of 
" unselfishness " as a moral value, and by way of sur- 
vey of the soil from which this value has grown. It 
is only bad conscience, only will to self-maltreatment 
that furnishes the presupposition on which the value 
of unselfishness hinges. 



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112 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

It is a disease — bad conscience — thus much is cer- 
tain, but in the sense that the state of pregnancy is a 
disease. Let us seek for the conditions under which 
this disease has reached its frightfulest and sublimest 
climax. We shall see what therewith has made its 
appearance on earth. But for this purpose a long 
breath is requisite, and, first of all, we have to recur 
once again to a former point of view. The relation 
of the debtor to his creditor, as established on the 
basis of private law (of which we have already spoken 
at length), has, a second time and in a manner most 
memorable in respect to history and most question- 
able, been interpreted into another relation in which, 
perhaps, it will seem most unintelligible to us modern 
men; namely into the relation of those who live at 
any given time towards their ancestors. Within the 
original federation of families — we are speaking of 
primitive times — in every case, the living generation, 
in its relation to the older, and especially to the oldest 
generation which founded the family, acknowledges 
itself to be bound by a juristic liability (and by no 
means merely by an obligation of feeling ; indeed, for 
the longest period of the history of mankind, the ex- 
istence of this feeling might be — not without reason — 
denied altogether). Here the conviction prevails, that 
the family exists only through the sacrifices and ser- 



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SECOND ESSAY 113 

vices of its ancestors, — and that these sacrifices and 
services must be paid back with other sacrifices and 
services. Thus , a guilt is acknowledged which, more- 
over, grows continually inasmuch as these ancestors, 
in their post-existence as mighty spirits, never cease 
to supply the family with new advantages and ad- 
vances out of the store of their power. For nothing? \ 
But there exists no "for nothing" for those times 
rude and poor of soul. What, then, may they be 
given back? Sacrifices (i.e., at first food in its most 
literal sense), festivals, temples, demonstrations of 
honour, and, above all, obedience. For all usages are 
the work and, as such, also the precepts and com- 
mandments of the ancestors. Can one ever give them 
enough ? This suspicion remains and grows. From 
time to time it extorts a wholesale commutation, a 
back-payment, to the " creditor " in the form of some- 
thing immense (the notorious offerings of the first 
bom, for instance, — blood, human blood in any case). 
The fear of the ancestor and his might, the conscious- 
ness of debts towards him, increases — according to 
this kind of logic — exactly in proportion as the power 
of the family itself increases, in proportion as the 
family itself grows more victorious, more independent, 
more intensely feared. The reverse is out of the 
question ! Every step in the direction of degeneration 
of the clan, every pitiable accident, every indication 
of degeneration and approaching disintegration always 



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114 * GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

lessens the fear of the spirit of its founder and conveys 
an ever feebler idea of his prudence, providence and 
powerful presence. Suppose this rough kind of logic 
to be carried through, by the fantasy of growing fear 
the progenitors of the mightiest clans must at last 
have grown to immense dimensions, and have been 
pushed into the darkness of a divine awfulness and 
unimaginableness. The progenitor will, of necessity, 
become at last transfigured into a God. Possibly here 
may even be the origin of the gods, an origin to wit 
from fear! And he who should think it necessary 
to add: "but also from piety!" would hardly be right 
with respect to the longest period of man, his fore- 
time. Much more so for the middle period in which 
noble families are being formed. For these actually 
paid back with interest to their founders and progeni- 
tors (heroes, gods) all those qualities, which in the 
meantime, have become apparent in themselves, — 
noble qualities. We shall later cast a glance upon 
the ennoblement and nobilitation (which is, of course, 
by no means their " sanctification ") of the gods. For 
the present, let us bring to a provisional close the dis- 
cussion of this whole development of the consciousness 
of guilt. 

20 

The consciousness of having debts to pay to the 
godhead, has, as history teaches us, by no means 
ceased to develop even after the decline of the organi- 



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SECOND ESSAY 115 

sation of the "community" based on blood-relation- 
ship; on the contrary, mankind has, in the same 
manner that it inherited the notions " good and bad " 
from the family-nobility (together with their funda- 
mental psychological inclination to posit degrees of 
rank), inherited also the godheads of families and 
tribes and the oppressive feelings occasioned by un- 
paid debts and the desire of redeeming the same. 
(The transition is effected by those large populations 
of slaves and bondmen, which — be it by compulsion 
or by submissiveness and mimicry — accommodated 
themselves to the cult of gods practised by their 
masters. From them this heritage will flow over 
towards all parts.) The feeling of obligation towards 
the godhead kept steadily increasing for several thou- 
sands of years, in the same proportion in which the 
concept of God and the feeling of dependence from 
God grew and were elevated. (The whole history of 
ethnical wars, victories, reconciliations, and amalga- 
mations, all that precedes the final regulation of rank 
of all parts of a people in each great synthesis of 
races, is reflected in the genealogical confusion of 
their gods, in the legends relating their wars, victo- 
ries and reconciliations. The development into uni- 
versal empires is always a progressus to universal 
divinities, and despotism with its overcoming of inde- 
pendent nobility will always pave the way for some 
form of monotheism.) Therefore the rise of the 



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Il6 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

Christian God, as being the maxiraum-god so far at- 
tained, has given rise also to the maximum feeling 
of guilt on earth. Assuming that we at last have 
entered a period of the reverse movement, then the 
steady decline of the faith in the Christian God might 
lead us to infer with no small degree of probability 
that the human consciousness of guilt is, at this mo- 
ment, likewise experiencing a considerable decline ; 
indeed, the prospect cannot be rejected that the per- 
fect and final triumph of atheism might altogether 
rid and quit mankind of this entire feeling of obliga- 
tion to its beginning, its causa prima. \ Atheism and 
a kind of second innocence are parts of a wholes 



21 

So much in the rough and short on the connection 
of the concepts of "guilt" and "duty" with religious 
presuppositions, I have purposely so far left out of 
consideration the specific moralisation of these con- 
cepts (the problem of the pushing of them back into 
conscience or, still more definitely, the complication 
of bad conscience with the concept of God) and, at 
the close of the last section, I have even spoken as 
if this moralisation did not exist at all and, therefore, 
these concepts of necessity ceased to exist after their 
presupposition has fallen away, the faith in our 
"creditor," in God. But the facts of the case differ 



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SECOND ESSAY 117 

from this speculation in a terrible manner. The 
moralisation of the concepts of guilt and duty, the 
pushing of them back into bad conscience, implies, in 
fact, an attempt to reverse the direction of the devel- 
opment now described, or, at least, to stay its progress. 
Now the very prospects of a final commutation of 
guilt are asked, once for all, to be shut up in a pessi- 
mistic way ; now the look is asked to shrink back 
and recoil disconsolately as though from some iron 
wall of impossibility ; now those concepts " guilt " and 
" duty " are asked to turn backwards. Against whom ? 
No question whatever: first of all against the "debtor," 
in whom bad conscience will now establish itself, eat 
into his flesh, extend, and polype-like branch out into 
every depth and breadth until at last, in the concep- 
tion of the irredeemableness of guilt, the idea of its 
unpayableness {everlasting punishment) is also con- 
ceived; but at last even against the "creditor," 
whether this be thought to be the causa prima of 
man, the beginning of mankind, its progenitor, who 
now will be burdened with a curse (" Adam," " original 
sin," "unfreedom of will"), or nature herself, from 
whose womb man takes his origin, and into which 
now the evil principle is laid (" diabolification of 
nature"), or existence in general which is declared 
as worthless in itself (nihilistic desertion of life, long- 
ing to reach the Nothing, or longing for one's an- 
tithesis, the state of being otherwise, Buddhism and 



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1 1 S A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

kindred religions) — until, all of a sudden, we find our- 
selves face to face with that paradoxical and fright- 
ful expedient which afforded at least temporary relief 
to tortured humanity, that master-stroke of Chris- 
tianity : God himself sacrificing himself for the guilt 
of man ; God himself making himself paid ; God being 
alone able to redeem from man what for man him- 
self has become irredeemable — the creditor sacrificing 
himself for his debtor, from love (would you believe 
it ?), from love for his debtor ! . . . . 



22 



We shall have divined by this time the real and 
inner meaning of this entire phenomenon : that will to 
self-torture, that stemmed-back cruelty of animal man 
who has become internalised, who is, as it were, chased 
back into himself, who is encaged in the "state," to 
the end of being tamediwho invented bad conscience 
for the purpose of causing pain to himself after the 
more natural outlet of this will to cause pain had be- 
come obstructed, — this man of bad conscience availed 
himself of religious presuppositions as a means of car- 
rying his self-torture to an excess of frightful severity 
and cruelty. A guilt against God — this thought be- 
comes his instrument of tortureTj In the concept of 
"God" he finds the ultimate antitheses to be tracked 
to his own and irredeemable animal instincts ; by inter- 



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SECOND ESSAY 119 

pretation he transforms these animal instincts into a 
guilt against God (as enmity, insurrection, rebellion 
against the " Lord," the " Father," the Progenitor, the 
Beginning of the world), he yokes himself into the 
antithesis " God " and " Devil ; " every Nay he pro- 
nounces upon himself, upon the nature, naturalness 
and actuality of his own essence, he utters as a Yea, 
as something existing, bodily, real, as God, as the 
holy God, as God the judge, as God the hangman, as 
another world, as eternity, as everlasting torture, as 
hell, as immeasurableness of punishment and guilt. 
This is a kind of volitional insanity in spiritual cruelty, 
such as has not its parallel anywhere ; it is the will 
of man to find himself guilty and condemnable even 
unto irredeemableness ; it is his will to conceive him- 
self as punished, the punishment being incapable of 
ever balancing the guilt; it is his will to infect and 
poison the inmost nature of things with the problem 
of punishment and guilt, in order to make impossible 
for himself, once for all, the exit from this labyrinth 
of "fixed ideas;" it is his will to erect an ideal — the 
ideal of the "holy God" — in order to be in the 
presence of what plainly assured him of his absolute 
unworthiness. Oh, for this insane, wretched beast of 
man ! What notions it will take ! What anti-nature, 
what paroxysms of nonsense, what bestiality of idea ^ 
will forthwith break out, if it be but in the least hin- 
dered from being a beast of action / . , . . All this. 



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120 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

is abundantly interesting, but it is also of a black, 
cloudy, enervating sadness, so that we must sternly 
forbid ourselves to gaze too long into these abysses. 
Here is disease, no question whatever, the most ter- 
rible disease that has ever raged in man. And he 
who is able to hear it (but modern ears are dead to 
such sounds!) how, in this night of torture and non- 
sense, the cry of love, the cry of keenest longing and 
ecstasy, of salvation in love, has sounded, will turn 
away conquered by a feeling of invincible horror ! . . . . 
In man there are so many frightful things ! . . . . For 
too long a time the earth has been a madhouse I . . , . 

23 

So much be once for all enough on the origin of the 
"holy God." — That in itself the conception of gods 
need not necessarily lead to this degradation of fantasy 
(to which we were obliged to devote a moment's con- 
sideration); that there are nobler ways of inventing 
gods than for the purpose of this self-crucifixion and 
self-shaming of man in which Europe during the last 
thousands of years has attained to perfection ; — thus 
much fortunately can be seen by every glance which 
we cast upon Grecian gods, these personifications of 
high-born and self-glorying men, in whom the animal 
in man felt itself deified, and did not tear itself for 
rage against itself ! These Greeks for the longest time 



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SECOND ESSAY 121 

used their gods just for keeping "bad conscience" at 
a safe distance, in order to enable them to remain 
happy in their freedom of the soul ; i.e., reversely from 
the practice of Christianity in the application of its 
God ! They went very far in this, these splendid, 
lion-hearted children; and no less an authority than 
that of the Homeric Zeus himself gives them to un- 
derstand at times that they make life too easy for 
themselves. " Strange ! " he says on one occasion — 
the case in question is that of ^Egisthus, a very bad 
case — 

" Strange, that for ever mortals the gods will be sorely 

accusing 1 
Evil of us only cometk, they ween, but by their own 

folly 
They will heap on themselves hard misery, even against 

fate." 

But here we both see and hear, that this Olympian 
spectator and judge is far from being wroth or from 
thinking ill of them : "How foolish they are ! " he 
thinks when contemplating the misdeeds of mortals, — 
and "folly," "unreasonableness," a little "disturbance 
in the head," thus much the Greeks even of the strong- 
est and most heroic age have admitted to be the reason 
of many ominous events and fatalities. Folly, not sin ! 
Ye understand this ? . . . . And even this disturbance 
in the head was a problem with them. "How could 



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122 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

it be even so much as possible ? Whence did it come 
into heads as we have them, we men of noble descent, 
of happiness, of well-constitutedness, of the best soci- 
ety, of superiority, of virtue ? " Thus for centuries the 
noble Greek would ask himself in the face of every 
horror and outrage inexplicable to him and committed 
by one of his equals. " 'Tis like some god has blinded 
him," he at last said to himself, shaking his head .... 
This explanation is typical for Greeks .... In this 
manner the gods, in those times, subserved the purpose 
of justifying, in some measure at least, man also in 
his wrong-doings. They served as causes of evil. 
Then they took upon themselves, not punishment, but, 
as is nobler, guilt .... 

24 

I close with three interrogation marks, as you will 
see. "Is here," some one will ask, "an ideal being 
erected, or an ideal being broken down ? " But have 
ye ever really asked yourselves sufficiently as to how 
dearly the erection of all ideals on earth was paid for ? 
How much reality had to be slandered and miscon- 
ceived for this purpose ; how much falsehood sanc- 
tioned ; how much conscience confused ; how much 
"God" sacrificed each time? In order that a sanctu- 
ary may be erected, a sanctuary must be broken down ; 
this is the law — name me an instance in which it is 



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SECOND ESSAY 123 

violated ! , . . . We modern men, we are the heirs of 
the vivisection of conscience and self-torment of thou- 
sands of years in which we have had our longest 
practice, perhaps our artist-mastery or, in any case, 
our rafftnement, our fastidiousness of taste. For too 
long a time man regarded his natural bents with an 
" evil eye," so that in the end they became related to 
"bad conscience. " A rev erse experiment ...is. ..is itself 
possible — but who is strong enough for it ? — who will 
bring into relation to bad conscience all unnatural 
bents, all those aspirations for another life for all that 
is hostile to the senses, the instincts, to nature, to 
animality; in one word, all the old ideals, which are, 
each and every one, ideals hostile to life and slandering 
the world? To whom to-day apply with such hopes 
and claims ? . . . . Just the good we should thereby 
have against us; and, of course, also the indolent, the 
reconciled, the vain, the enthusiastic, the tired .... 
What offends more, what estranges more than to make 
others aware of the rigour and altitude of our self- 
treatment! And, on the other hand, how obliging, 
how amiable all the world will show itself to us, as 
soon as we behave like all the world and " indulge our 
humour " like all the world ! . . . . For such a task 
there is requisite a different kind of spirits than our 
age is likely to produce : spirits, strengthened by wars 
and victories; to whom conquest, adventure, danger, 
even pain have become a need ; for it an accustoming 



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124 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

to thin, Alpine air, to winterly wanderings, to ice and 
mountains in every sense ; nay, even a kind of sublime 
maliciousness; an ultimate and most self-assured 
sprightliness of knowledge, indispensable for the great 
health; to say a bad thing in one word: even this 
great health is requisite! .... But is just this even 
so much as possible to-day ? . . . . But at some time, 
and in a stronger time than this tottering and self- 
doubting age of ours, he is to come, the redeeming man 
of the great love and contempt, the creative spirit who, 
by his thronging power, is ever again driven away, 
from every corner and other world; whose loneliness 
is misunderstood by the people, as though it were a 
flight from reality, whereas it is but his sinking, bury- 
ing, and deepening into reality, in order that, when 
again he rises unto light, he may bring home with him 
the redemption of reality, its redemption from the curse 
which the old ideal has laid upon it. This man of the 
future who will redeem us from the old ideal, as also 
from that which had to grow out of this ideal, from 
great surfeit, from the will to the Nothing, from nihil- 
ism; this bell-stroke of noon-day and the great deci- 
sion which restores freedom to the will, which restores 
to the earth its goal, and to man his hope ; this Anti- 
christ and Antinihilist, this conqueror of God and of the 
Nothing — he mttst come some-day .... 



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SECOND ESSAY 125 

25 

But what say I here ? Enough ! Enough ! At this 
place but one thing befits me — silence: lest I should 
infringe on that which only one younger than I am, 
one more " futurous " than I am, one stronger than I 
am is free to do — on that which only Zarathustra is 
free to do, Zarathustra the Ungodly .... 



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THIRD ESSAY 
WHAT DO ASCETIC IDEALS MEAN? 



Regardless, mocking, violent, 
thus wisdom wisheth us : she is a 
woman, she ever loveth a warrior 
only. 

Thus Spake Zarathustra 



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What do ascetic ideals mean ? — In the case of 
artists nothing or too many things; in the case of 
philosophers and scholars something like a scenting 
and instinct of the most favourable conditions of high 
intellectuality; in the case of woman, at best, an ad- 
ditional amiableness for seduction, a little morbidezza 
on a pretty piece of flesh, the saintliness of some fine, 
fat animal ; in the case of the physiologically aborted 
and depressed (the majority of mortals) an attempt to 
think themselves " too good " for this world, a sacred 
form of dissipation, their chief weapon in the struggle 
with slow pain and ennui ; in the case of priests the 
specific priestly creed, their most effective instrument 
of power, also their " supreme " license to power ; and 
finally in the case of saints a pretext for going into 
hibernation, their novissima gloria cupido, their rest in 
the nothing (" God "), their form of madness. But the 
fact that the ascetic ideal has meant so much for man, 
expresses that other fundamental fact of human will, 
its horror vacui. It needs a goal, — and it will rather 
will nothingness, than not will at all. — Am I under- 

K 129 



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130 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

stood? .... Have I been understood? .... "By 
no means, Sir/" — Well let us, then, begin at the 
beginning I 



What do ascetic ideals mean ? — Or, to pick out a 
single case, in regard to which I have often enough 
been asked ray advice : what does it mean, for instance, 
when an artist like Richard Wagner, in the eve of 
his life, gives an ovation to chastity? In a certain 
sense, it is true, he has always done so; but in an 
ascetic sense only in his very last years. What does 
this alteration of his " mind," this radical revulsion of 
his mind mean ? For such it was, inasmuch as Wagner, 
in so doing, turned straightway into his antithesis : 
What does it mean when an artist turns into his 
antithesis ? . . . . Here, if we will stop a moment at 
this question, the remembrance will at once suggest 
itself, of the best, strongest, most joyful and most 
courageous period which perhaps existed in Wagner's 
life : the period, when his mind was deeply occupied 
by the thought of a " Marriage of Luther." Who 
knows to what incidents it is due that to-day, in place 
of this marriage-music, we possess the Mastersingers ? 
And how much of this marriage-music perhaps sounds 
on in the Mastersingers ? But there is no doubt, that 
also in this "Marriage of Luther" the plot would have 
turned on the praise of chastity. It is true, also on the 



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THIRD ESSAY I 3 I 

praise of sensuality ; and even so I should have thought 
it proper ; and even so it would have been " Wag- 
nerian." For chastity and sensuality are not neces- 
sarily antithetical; every true marriage, every genuine 
love-affair is past that antithesis. Wagner, it seems 
to me, would have done well to apprise his Germans 
once more of this agreeable fact by means of some 
fine, brave comedy, with Luther figuring as hero, — for 
among the Germans there always were and still are 
many slanderers of sensuality; and perhaps the greatest 
merit of Luther is that he had the courage of his sen- 
suality (in those days it was called, delicately enough, 
" evangelical freedom ").... But even in those cases 
in which that antithesis between chastity and sensual- 
ity really exists, it fortunately needs not at all to be a 
tragical antithesis. This might at least be the case 
with all better constituted and more cheerful mortals, 
who are not at all disposed, without further ado, to 
reckon their fluctuating state of equilibrium betwixt 
" angel and petite bite " among the arguments against 
existence; the finest, the brightest, such as Hafiz or 
Goethe, have even discerned an additional charm of life 
therein. It is just such " contradictions " that seduce to 
life .... But if, on the other hand, the ill-constituted 
swine can be induced to worship chastity — and there 
are such swine ! — they will, as is but too plain, see and 
worship in it only their own antithesis, the antithesis 
of ill-constituted swine — and oh, one can imagine with 



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132 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

how much tragic grunting and eagerness ! — , that same 
painful and superfluous antithesis which Richard Wag- 
ner, at the end of his days, undoubtedly intended to set 
to music and produce on the stage. Prithee, where- 
fore? as we have a right to ask. For what had he, 
and what have we to do with swine? 



Here, to be sure, that other question cannot be 
avoided: what had Wagner really to do with that 
manly (also, so very unmanly) " rustic simplicity," that 
poor devil and country lad Parsifal whom, by such 
insidious means, he finally succeeded in making a 
Roman Catholic ? What ? was this Parsifal really meant 
seriously? For one might be tempted to believe, and 
even to wish, the reverse, — namely that the Wagnerian 
Parsifal had been meant to be gay, like a finale or 
satiric drama with which, precisely in a due and worthy 
manner, the tragedian Wagner had intended to take 
his farewell of us, also of himself, and above all of 
tragedy, namely with an excess of the greatest and 
most wanton parody on the tragic itself, on all the 
awful earth-earnestness and earth-sorrowfulness of the 
past, on the stupidest form of the anti-naturalness of 
the ascetic ideal finally surmounted. Thus, as I said, 
it would have precisely been in keeping with a great 
tragedian : who, like every artist, only reaches the last 



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THIRD ESSAY 133 

summit of his greatness, when he learns to see him- 
self and his art below him, when he knows how to 
laugh at himself. Is Wagner's "Parsifal" his secret 
laugh of superiority at himself, the triumph of his 
greatest, finally attained, artistic freedom and artistic 
other-world? As has heen said, one might wish that 
it were so ! For, what sense could we attach to a 
Parsifal seriously meant t Is it really necessary to 
suppose (as I have been told), that Wagner's " Parsifal " 
is "the product of a maddened hatred of perception, 
intellect, and sensuality ? " an anathema on the senses 
and the intellect in one breath, in a fit of hatred? an 
apostasy and return to sickly, Christian, and obscu- 
rantist ideals ? And finally, worst of all, the self- 
negation and self-annulment of an artist, who had 
striven, so far, with all his will-power, for the opposite, 
namely for the highest spiritualising and sensuatising 
of his art? And not only of his art, but of his life 
as well. Let us recollect how enthusiastically Wagner 
once walked in the footsteps of Feuerbach the philoso- 
pher. Feuerbach's phrase of " a healthy sensuality " 
echoed in the third and fourth decades of this century 
to Wagner as to many other Germans — they called 
themselves the "young Germans" — like the word of 
salvation. Did the older Wagner unlearn his former 
creed? Very likely he did! judging from the dispo- 
sition he evinced toward the end of his life to unteach 
his first belief .... And not only with the trumpets 



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4 



134 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

of Parsifal from the stage; but there are also a hun- 
dred passages in the gloomy, constrained, and per- 
plexed writings of his last years in which a secret wish 
and will, a wavering, hesitating, unacknowledged in- 
clination is shown actually to preach return, conver- 
sion, negation, Christianity, medievalism, and to tell 
his disciples : " All is vain ! Seek your salvation else- 
where!" Even the "blood of the Saviour" is once 
invoked .... 



Let me in such a case, somewhat painful but typical, 
give my opinion: — it is certainly best to separate an 
artist so far from his work as not to take him as seri- 
j ously as his work. All in all, he is but the condition 
of his work, — the womb, soil, nay, at times even 
the dung and manure upon which and out of which 
it grows, and hence, in most cases, something which 
must be forgotten if we would enjoy the work itself. 
The insight into the origin of a work is the business 
of the physiologists and vivisectors of the mind ; never 
of the aesthetic people, the artists. Just as a pregnant 
woman is not spared the many odiousnesses and odd- 
nesses peculiar to pregnancy (which must be forgotten 
if one would take pleasure in the child), so the poet 
and artificer of Parsifal had deeply, thoroughly and 
even frightfully to penetrate and descend into medie- 
val psychological antitheses; he could not be spared 



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THIRD ESSAY 135 

a life aloof from every height, rigour and training of 
the spirit (if I may use the word), a kind of intellect- 
ual perversity. We must guard against the error into 
which an artist is but too apt to fall from psychologi- 
cal contiguity (as Englishmen call it) of supposing that 
he himself is really that which he is able to represent, 
to think outjjto express in words. The fact is that, 
if he were such, he could under no circumstances rep- 
resent it, nor think it out, nor express it in words. 
Homer would never have created an Achilles, Goethe 
would never have created a Faust, had Homer been^ 
Achilles, or Goethe Faust. A perfect and genuine 
artist is, for aye and evermore, separated from that 
which is "real," actually existing. On the other hand, 
it is seen how an artist can, at times, grow tired even 
to surfeit of this eternal " unreality " and falseness of 
his own inmost existence, — and that, then, he will 
attempt an excursion into the realm most strictly for- 
bidden to him, into reality, into being real. With what 
success? It is easily found out .... This is the 
typical velleity of the artist; that same velleity, to 
which also Wagner grown-old fell a victim and for 
which he had to pay so dearly, so fatally (losing, as 
he did, the valuable part of his friends). But alto- 
gether disregarding this velleity, who is there that 
does not wish — for Wagner's own sake — that he 
had taken farewell from us and from his art, not by 
means of a Parsifal, but in different wise, — more vic- 



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I36 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

torious, more self-confident, more Wagnerian, — less 
misleading, less double-dealing in regard to his whole 
intention, less Schopenhauerian, less nihilistic? .... 



What, then, do ascetic ideals mean ? In the case of 
an artist, as by this time will have become clear to us, — 
nothing ! . . . . Or so many things that it is the same 
as if they meant nothing ! . . . . Let us, therefore, 
first of all, eliminate artists. Their position in and 
against the world is not at all of sufficient indepen- 
dence to make their valuations and the evolution of 
them in themselves deserve our attention. They were 
at all times the chamberlains of some morality or 
philosophy or religion ; not even considering the fact 
that, I am sorry to say, often enough they were the 
all-too-pliant courtiers to their followers and patrons, 
and the sharp-nosed flatterers of long established or 
newly rising powers. In any case, they always stand 
in need of a safe-guard, a backing, some firmly estab- 
lished authority : artists never stand alone ; they have 
a deep and instinctive aversion to standing alone. So, 
for instance, Richard Wagner, when the time "had 
come to pass," took Schopenhauer the philosopher as 
his front-line man and safe-guard. Who would even 
so much as deem it possible that Wagner would have 
had the courage for an ascetic ideal, but for the back- 



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THIRD ESSAY IJ7 

ing furnished to him by the philosophy of Schopen- 
hauer, but for the authority of Schopenhauer himself 
which in the seventies gained the ascendency in Eu- 
rope? (Here we shall pay no regard to the question 
whether an artist — unless suckled by the milk of 
meek, loyally meek disposition — would have been at 
all possible in the new Germany.) — And this brings 
us to the more serious question: what does it mean, 
when a genuine philosopher renders homage to the 
ascetic ideal, a really independent spirit like Schopen- 
hauer, a man and knight with iron look, who has the 
courage for himself, the strength to stand alone, and 
disdains to wait for front-line men and hints from 
above? — Let us here consider the remarkable and 
for a certain class of people even fascinating position 
which Schopenhauer held in respect to art. For ap- 
parently this it was that formed the immediate reason 
of Wagner's going over to Schopenhauer (persuaded 
to this step, as is well known, by a poet, Herwegh). 
He went over to such an extent that thereby arose 
a complete theoretical contradiction between his earlier 
and his later aesthetic creed, — the former, for instance, 
being expressed in " Opera and Drama" the latter in 
the writings which he edited after 1870. Especially 
(what is, perhaps, strangest of all) Wagner changed 
regardlessly his judgment as to the value and posi- 
tion of music itself. What did it concern him that 
so far he had used it for a means, a medium, a 



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I38 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

"woman" who, in order to thrive, must be given an 
end, a man, the drama, to wit! He all at once under- 
stood that by means of Schopenhauer's theory and 
innovation more might be accomplished in majorem 
tnusica gloriam, — namely by means of the theory of 
the sovereignty of music, as Schopenhauer understood 
it: music being placed aside from and against other 
arts, as the ind &pendejry^rt^sjjich^and differing from 
the other arts in that it presents not merely copies of 
phenomenality, as they do, but rather speaks the lan- 
guage of the will itself immediately from the " abyss," 
las its most private, most original, most undefined and 
junderived revelation. By means of this extraordinary 
enhancement of the value of music which seemed to 
grow from Schopenhauerian philosophy, the value, 
also, of the musician himself underwent an unheard-of 
increase : he now became an oracle, a priest, nay, more 
than a priest — a kind of mouth-piece of the "In- 
itself" of things, a telephone from another world. 
Henceforth he talked not merely music, this ventrilo- 
quist of God, — he talked metaphysics. Was it won- 
derful, then, that someday he should talk ascetic 
ideals ? .... 



Schopenhauer availed himself of the Kantian for- 
mulation of the aesthetic problem, — although he cer- 
tainly did not view it with Kantian eyes. Kant 



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THIRD ESSAY IJ9 

thought he did an honour to art, when among the pred- 
icates of beauty, he gave preference to, and empha- 
sised those which constitute the honour of knowledge : 
impersonality and omnivalence. Whether, in the main, 
this was not a mistake, is a question which this is not 
the place to discuss. All that I wish to underscore is 
that like all philosophers, Kant, instead of approaching 
the problem of aesthetics from the experiences of the 
artist (the creator), meditated over art and beauty 
merely from the standpoint of the "spectator" and so 
quite unconsciously got the "spectator himself" into 
his concept of "beauty." The case were not so bad, if 
this " spectator " had, at least, been sufficiently known 
to the philosophers of beauty! — namely as a great 
personal fact and experience, as an abundance of most 
private, strong experiences, desires, surprises, ecstasies 
in the domain of beauty. But the reverse, I fear, has 
ever been the case. Hence, from the very beginning, 
we receive from them definitions in which, as in that 
celebrated definition of beauty given by Kant, the lack 
of subtler self-experience lurks in the form of a big 
worm of fundamental error. " Beautiful," according to 
Kant, "is that, which pleases without interest" With- 
out interest! Compare with this definition that other 
one made by a genuine spectator and artist, — Stendhal, 
who somewhere calls beauty une promesse de bonheur. 
In this definition, at any rate, precisely that is refused 
and expunged which Kant emphasises in the aesthetic 



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140 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

state : le cttsinteressement . Who is right, Kant or 
Stendhal ? If, to be sure, our aestheticians will not 
tire to advance in favour of Kant, the old argument 
that, under the spell of beauty, one can behold even 
naked female statues " without interest," — then I 
should think that we have a right to laugh a little at 
their expense. The experiences of artists in regard to 
this delicate point are "more interesting," and Pygma- 
lion was, at any rate, not necessarily an "unassthetic 
man." Let us think all the more highly of the inno- 
cence of our sestheticians which is reflected by such 
argument ; let us duly appreciate in Kant, for instance, 
what, with the naivett of some country-parson he has 
to teach us on the peculiarities of the sense of touch ! 
— And this brings us back to Schopenhauer who, to 
quite another extent than Kant, was familiar with art, 
and nevertheless failed to break the ban of this Kantian 
definition. Why ? The thing is curious enough : the 
phrase " without interest " he interpreted for himself in 
the most personal manner, out of an experience which 
seems to have been among the most regular occurrences 
with him. On few topics Schopenhauer talks with 
such confidence as on the effects of jaesthetic contem- 
plation. He claims that it tends to counteract just 
sexual " interestedness," in a way similar to that of 
lupulin and camphor. He never wearied of celebrat- 
ing this escape from will as the great advantage and 
boon of the aesthetic state. Indeed, one might be 



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THIRD ESSAY 141 

tempted to raise the question whether his fundamental 
conception of " will and representation," — the thought 
that redemption from will is only possible through " rep- 
resentation," may not owe its origin to a generalisation 
of even this sexual experience. (In all questions, by 
the bye, as to the philosophy of Schopenhauer, regard 
must be had for the fact that it is the conception of a 
youth of twenty-six, and partakes, consequently, not 
only of the specifics of Schopenhauer, but also of the 
specifics of that season of life.) Let us, for instance, 
hear one of the most express among the many passages 
written by him in honour of the aesth etic state {The 
World as Will and Representation, I, p. 54) ; let us note 
the tone of his language, the suffering, the joy, the 
thankfulness of it " It is the painless state which 1 
Epicurus praised as the highest good and as the state 
of the gods ; for we are, for that moment, set free from j 
the striving of vile will ; we keep the Sabbath of the I 
penal servitude of willing; the wheel of Ixion stands 
Still " . . . . What vehemence of language ! What 
pictures of torture and of long surfeit ! What almost 
pathological contra-positing of the time of "that mo- 
ment" and the usual "wheel of Ixion," the "penal ser- 
vitude of willing," the " vile striving of will ! " — But 
granting even Schopenhauer to be a hundred times 
right with respect to his own person, — would thereby 
our insight into the nature of beauty be promoted? 
Schopenhauer describes one effect of beauty, — the will- 



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142 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

calming effect. But is this effect even so much as a 
rule ? Stendhal, as I said, a not less sensual but more 
happily constituted nature than Schopenhauer, lays 
stress on a different effect of beauty : " beauty prom- 
ises happiness." With him the very stimulation of will 
("interest") by beauty seems to be the fact. And 
might we not finally object to Schopenhauer that he is 
very far wrong in calling himself a Kantian in this re- 
spect ; that he did not at all understand the Kantian 
definition of beauty in the sense of Kant ; — that also 
his pleasure derived from beauty was due to an " inter- 
est" even the strongest and most personal interest, the 
interest of one tortured who escapes his torture ? And, 
to revert to our first question: "What does it mean, 
when a philosopher renders homage to the ascetic ideal ? " 
we now receive at least a first hint : he wishes to get 
rid of a torture. 



Let us guard ourselves from making gloomy faces 
at the mere sound of the word " torture ! " For in 
this very case quite a number of allowances and de- 
ductions can be made. There even remains some- 
thing to laugh at. Let us, above all, not undervalue 
the fact that Schopenhauer — who actually treated sen- 
suality (including the tool of sensuality, woman, this 
instrumentum diaboli) as his personal enemy — stood 
in need of enemies, to keep him in good spirits; 



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THIRD ESSAY I43 

that he loved the grim-humoured, gaily, black-browed 
words; that he frowned for frowning' s sake; from 
inclination ; that he would have become sick, become 
pessimist ( — for pessimist he was not, much though he 
wished to be so), but for his enemies, but for Hegel, 
for woman, for sensuality, and the whole will to life, 
the will to stay here. Had Schopenhauer been a 
pessimist, he would not have stayed here, to be sure ; 
he would have run away. But his enemies held him 
fast; his enemies kept seducing him to existence; his 
anger, quite as in the case of the ancient cynics, con- 
stituted his comfort, his recreation, his reward, his 
remedinm for surfeit, his happiness. So much in 
regard to that which is specifically personal in the 
case of Schopenhauer! But on the other hand his 
case presents also something typical, — and now only 
we come back to our problem, Undoubtedly there 
exists, as long as philosophers exist on earth, and 
wherever philosophers have existed (from India as far 
as England — to take the opposite poles of philo- 
sophical ability), a specific philosopher's sensitiveness 
and rancour against sensuality; Schopenhauer being, 
in fact, only the most eloquent and, if we have ears 
for such sounds, the most ravishing and rapturous 
outburst of it. In the same manner there exists a 
singular philosopher's prepossessedness and heartiness 
in favour of the whole ascetic ideal ; — about which 
and against which fact it will hardly do for us to 



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144 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

shut our eyes. Both things are, as I said, essential 
to the type. If either be wanting in a philosopher, 
then, we may be sure, he is always but a " so-called " 
philosopher. What does that meant For this fact 
must first be interpreted : in itself it stands stupid to 
all eternity, as every " thing in itself." Every animal, 
and hence also la bite philosophe, instinctively strives 
for an optimum of favourable conditions under which 
it is free to discharge fully its power and attains its 
maximum consciousness of power; every animal, quite 
as instinctively and with a keenness of scent which 
" passeth all understanding," abhors every kind of dis- 
turber or obstacle which obstructs or could obstruct 
his road to the optimum ( — it is not its road to " hap- 
piness," of which I am now speaking, but its road to 
power, to action, to mightiest action, and, actually, in 
most cases, its road to unhappiness). So, also, the 
philosopher abhors wedlock and all that would fain 
persuade to this state — as being an obstacle and 
fatality on his road to the optimum. Who among the 
great philosophers is known to have been married? 
Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, 
Schopenhauer — they were not; nay, we cannot even 
so much as conceive them as married, A married 
philosopher is a figure of comedy, this is ray proposi- 
tion; and that exception, Socrates, mischievous Soc- 
rates, married, it seems, ironice, with the express pur- 
pose of demonstrating this very proposition. Every 



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THIRD ESSAY 1 45 

philosopher would say what Buddha said, when the 
birth of a son was announced to him : " Rahula is 
born unto me, a fetter is forged for me" (Rahula 
means here "a little demon "). For every "free spirit " 
a thoughtful hour would be bound to come (assuming, 
that before he had a thoughtless hour), as it came to 
the same Buddha ! " ' Closely confined,' he thought 
within himself, ' is the life in the house, a place of 
impurity ! Freedom is in the leaving of the house.' " 
"Because he thought in this wise, he left the house." 
In the ascetic ideal there are indicated so many bridges 
leading to independence that a philosopher will not be 
able to hear, without some inner chuckling and exulta- 
tion, the story of all those resolute souls, who one day 
said No to all un-f reedom and went into some desert ; 
even assuming that they were nothing but mighty 
asses and the very counterparts of mighty spirits. 
What, then, does the ascetic ideal mean in the case 
of a philosopher ? My answer is — as long ago will 
have been anticipated — : the aspect of the ascetic 
ideal draws from the lips of the philosopher a smile 
because he recognises in it an optimum of the condi- 
tions of highest and keenest spirituality. In so doing, 
he does not negate " existence," but rather asserts his 
own existence and only his own existence, and this 
perhaps so much so that the frivolous wish is not far 
from him: pereat mitndus, fiat philosopkia, fiat pkiloso- 
phus, fiam .'.,., 



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I46 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

8 

These philosophers, we see, are anything but un- 
biassed witnesses and judges as to the value of the 
ascetic ideal! They think of themselves — what does 
" the Saint " concern them ! In valuing the ascetic 
ideal, they think of that which is most indispensable 
to them: freedom from constraint, interference, noise, 
from business, duties, cares ; they think of a clear head, 
of dancing, leaping, flying of thoughts ; good air, thin, 
clear, free, dry mountain-air, spiritualising and lending 
wings to all animal being ; peace in all souterrains ; 
all dogs securely chained; no barking indicative of 
hostility or shaggy rancour; no gnaw-worms of 
thwarted ambition; modest and obsequious intestines, 
busy as mills, but absent; the heart distant, beyond, 
futurous, posthumous. All in all, the ascetic ideal sug- 
gests to them that aerial asceticism of some deified and 
newly fledged animal which more roves than rests aloof 
from life. It is known what are the three great show- 
words of the ascetic ideal : Poverty, Humility, Chastity. 
And now let people for once examine the lives of all 
great productive and inventive spirits: to a certain 
extent all three will be found again in them. Not at 
all as their " virtues." This kind of man, what has it 
to do with virtues! But as the most essential, most 
natural conditions of their best existence, of their finest 
productivity. And it is also quite possible that their 



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THIRD ESSAY 147 

dominating spirituality had, first of all, to subdue an 
untamable and tender pride or an unruly sensuality ; 
or that it found it rather difficult to keep up their will 
to the " desert " perhaps against a hankering for luxury 
and most exquisite things, as also against an extrava- 
gant liberality of heart and hand. But this spirituality 
prevailed, even by virtue of its function of dominating 
instinct which insisted on its postulates against all other 
instincts. This spirituality still does so ; for if it did 
not, then it would not dominate. In this kind of 
abstinence, therefore, is anything but a "virtue." The 
desert, by the bye, of which even now I spoke, into 
which the strong and .independently constituted spirits 
retire to be lonesome — oh, how different it looks from 
the desert, as our "educated classes" imagine it. For, 
as the case may be, they themselves are the desert, 
these educated classes. And certain it is that all stage- 
players of the spirit have ever found it unbearable. 
For them it is not by far romantic enough, not Syrian 
enough, not stage-desert enough! Camels, it is true, 
are not absent from it ; but this is the only respect in 
which it resembles a real desert. Perchance, that 
desert consists in a self-willed obscurity; in a going out 
of the way of one's self ; in a horror of noise, honours, 
newspapers, influence; in a little office, an everyday, 
something which more hides than exposes; in an 
occasional intercourse with harmless, gladsome, little 
"foules and beastes," the sight of which refreshes; in 



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148 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

some mountains as one's company — yet not mountains 
dead, but provided with eyes ( — with lakes, to wit) ; at 
times even in a room in some crowded everybody hotel 
where one is sure to be mistaken and may safely con- 
verse with everybody else. This is a " desert " in this 
sense. Oh, believe me, it is lonesome enough' If 
Heraclitus retired into the courtyards and colonnades 
of the gigantic Artemis-temple, that "desert," I admit, 
was rather more dignified. Why are such temples 
wanting to us ? (Peradventure they are not wanting to 
us : I am just thinking of my finest study, the piazza 
di San Marco; spring presupposed, as also forenoon, 
the hours between ten and twelve.) But that which 
Heraclitus fled, is even this which we also flee: the 
hubbub and Democrat gossip of the Ephesians, their 
politics, their news from the " empire " (Persia, you 
understand), their market-truck of "to-day." For we 
philosophers must have rest from one thing first of all, 
from every "to-day." We revere what is still, cold, 
calm, distant, past, everything, in fact, the aspect of 
which does not assault or freeze the soul, — • something 
with which we may talk, without talking aloud. 
Mark but the timbre which a spirit has when talking ; 
every spirit has his own timbre, loves his own timbre. 
Yonder man, for instance, must, I think, be an agitator, 
say rather a hollow-head, a hollow-pot. Whatsoever 
goes into him, is sure to reverberate, heavy and hollow, 
laden with the echo of great emptiness. That one over 



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THIRD ESSAY 1 49 

there speaks rarely otherwise than with a hoarse voice. 
Has he thought himself into hoarseness? Possible 
enough — one may ask physiologists ; — he, however, 
who thinks in words, thinks, not as thinker but as 
speaker. (It shows -that he thinks, at bottom, not of 
matters, not to the point, but only in regard to matters ; 
that he thinks, in reality, of himself and of his listen- 
ers.) This third one, here, talks impertinently, his 
body rubs against our own ; his breath breathes upon 
us. Involuntarily we shut our mouths, though it is a 
book through which he speaks to us. The timbre of 
his style tells the reason why; that he has no time, 
that he has little faith in himself, that to-day or never 
he has a chance to speak. But a spirit, convinced of 
himself, speaks softly; he seeks retirement; he waits 
to be asked. It characterises the philosopher that he 
avoids three showy and noisy things, — glory, princes 
and women ; whereby it is not meant to be said, how- 
ever, that they should not come to him. He shuns all 
too glaring brightness; hence he shuns his own time 
and the "day" of it. In this respect he is like a 
shadow ; the farther the sun sinks, the bigger he grows. 
As regards his "humility," he will endure, even as he 
endures darkness, so also a certain amount of depend- 
ence and obscurity; nay, he fears to be disturbed by 
lightnings, he shrinks back from the unprotectedness 
of an all too isolated and expose^ tree against which 
every storm vents its temper, and every temper vents 



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150 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

its storm. His " motherly " instinct, the secret love 
for that which grows within him, consigns him to con- 
ditions in which he is freed from the duty of taking 
care of himself; in the same sense that the instinct of 
the mother in woman has so far maintained the depend- 
ent condition of woman in general. All in all, it is 
little enough they demand, these philosophers. Their 
motto is : " He who possesses, is possessed ; " not, as 
again and again I must urge, from a virtue, or a meri- 
torious will to simplicity and contentedness, but because 
their supreme lord demands it of them, demands it 
wisely and inexorably ; which lord, has but one end in 
view and gathers and saves exclusively for it time, 
strength, love, interest, everything. Men of his kind 
like to be disturbed by enmities, as little as by amities : 
they are quick to forget, quick to despise. They deem 
it a poor taste to play the martyr. " To suffer for 
truth" — this they leave to the ambitious, the stage- 
heroes of the spirit and whoso has time enough for it. 
(They themselves, the philosophers, have to do some- 
thing for truth.) They are niggard in the use of big 
words; we are told that they cannot brook to hear 
the word " truth ; " they say, it sounds grandiloquent 
.... And finally, as regards the " chastity " of phi- 
losophers, the productivity of such spirits consists mani- 
festly in something else than in children. Perhaps they 
also have somewhere else the continuance of their name, 
their little immortality. (Still more immodestly the 



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THIRD ESSAY 151 

ancient Indian philosophers expressed themselves: 
"Wherefore posterity for him whose soul is the 
world?") Therein is nothing of chastity out of any 
ascetic scrupulosity or hatred of the senses; as little 
as it is chastity if an athlete or jockey abstains from 
woman. Rather, thus it is demanded by the dominat- 
ing instinct of the philosopher, especially during the 
period of his great pregnancy. All artists know the 
injurious effects of sexual intercourse in times of great 
spiritual suspense and preparation ; in the case of the 
most powerful among them, and those in whom the 
instinct operates with the greatest certainty, experience, 
fatal experience is not even necessary, — for in their 
case it is even their " motherly " instinct which, for the 
benefit of the work in preparation, will regardlessly 
dispose of all other supplies and advances of power, — 
of the vigour of animal life. In such cases the greater 
power will absorb the lesser. — Let people expound the 
above-considered case of Schopenhauer in the light of 
this interpretation. The sight of beauty in his case, it 
seems, acted as a kind of disengaging irritant upon the 
main power of his nature (the power of reflection and 
intensified eye), so that this power then exploded and, 
all of a sudden, gained the upper hand in conscious- 
ness. With this explanation the possibility is not at all 
meant to be precluded that that peculiar sweetness and 
fulness owned by the aesthetic state may take its origin 
from the very ingredient of " sensuality," (as from that 



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l$2 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

same source that idealism springs which belongs to 
" marriageable maidens") — and that, therefore, sensual- 
ity upon the origination of the aesthetic state is by no 
means annulled, as Schopenhauer thought, but merely 
transfigured, and now no longer presents itself to con- 
sciousness as sexual irritant. (To this point of view I 
shall some other time revert, in connection with still 
more delicate problems relative to the hitherto so un- 
to uched-upon, so undisclosed Physiology of Esthetics.) 

9 

A certain asceticism, we saw, a hard and cheerful 
will to renunciation, are among the favourable condi- 
tions of highest spirituality, as also among the most 
natural consequences of it. Hence nobody can won- 
der that, from the very beginning, the ascetic ideal 
has always been treated with some prepossession just 
by philosophers. On an exact historical investigation, 
the tie of relationship between the ascetic ideal and 
philosophy proves to be much more intimate and 
severe. One might say that only in the leading- 
strings of this ideal has philosophy learnt to take her 
first steps and steplets on earth, alas, how very awk- 
wardly ! alas, how very peevishly I alas, how very ready 
to tumble over and lie flat on the belly, — this dear 
little toddler and tenderling with bent legs! Philoso- 
phy in her infancy fared, as all good things have 
fared j for a long time they lacked self-confidence ; 



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THIRD ESSAY 1 53 

they ever looked about for some one to extend a 
helping hand; they feared, in fact, all those that wit- 
nessed their efforts. Let us but review the individual 
bents and virtues of the philosopher, one after the 
other ; — his sceptical bent, his negating bent, his ex- 
pectant (" ephectical ") bent, his analytical bent, his 
searching, scrutinising, daring bent, his comparing and 
levelling bent, his will to neutrality and objectivity, his 
will to every " sine ira et studio." Has any one 
understood that all these bents for the longest period 
ran directly counter to the first demands of morality 
and of conscience ? (to say nothing of reason which 
Luther nicknamed Madame Smartness the smart 
whore); and that a philosopher, if he had become 
conscious of himself, would of necessity, have felt him- 
self as the incarnation of the "nitimur in vetitwm," 
and that, therefore, he took good care not " to feel him- 
self and not to become conscious of himself ?".... 
The same is true, as I said, of all good things in 
which to-day we pride ourselves. Even measured by 
the standard of the ancient Greeks, our whole modern 
life — in so far as it is not weakness, but power and 
consciousness of power — appears as sheer hybris and 
godlessness. For the very opposite things from those 
which to-day we revere, had — for the longest period 
— consciousness upon their side and God as their 
guardian. Hybris is to-day our whole attitude towards 
nature, our violation of nature with the aid of ma- 



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154 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

chines and the quite unscrupulous inventiveness of 
technologists and engineers. Hybris is our attitude 
towards God, say rather towards any alleged spider 
of purpose and morality, seated behind the great cob- 
web and catch-trap of causativeness. We might say 
with Charles the Bold, when warring against Louis the 
Eleventh : "Je combats I'universelle araignie" Hybris 
is our attitude towards ourselves; for we experiment 
upon ourselves, as we should not allow upon any 
other animal, and quite merrily and curiously rip up 
our soul in our live body. What do we care for the 
salvation of the soul! Afterwards we heal ourselves. 
To be sick is instructive, no question whatever, — more 
instructive even than to be well. The sickmakers seem 
to us to be more necessary to-day than any medicine- 
men and " saviours." We now violate ourselves, no 
doubt whatever, we nut-crackers of the soul, we ques- 
tioners and questionable ones, as if life were nothing 
but sheer nut-cracking ; and, by virtue of that, we 
must, from day to day, become more questionable, 
more worthy to question, and hence perhaps also 
worthier — to live? All good things were at onetime 
bad things; every original sin has developed into an 
original virtue. Matrimony, for instance, seemed for 
a long time to be a trespass upon the right of the 
community; formerly a fine was paid for the pre- 
sumption of claiming a woman for one's self (under 
this head must be considered, for instance, the jus 



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THIRD ESSAY I J 5 

prima noctis, — at this very day in Combodja the pre- 
rogative of the priests, these preservers of " good old 
customs "). The gentle, benevolent, indulgent, sympa- 
thetic feelings — rated at present so high that they 
almost are the "values as such " — were for the longest 
period branded self-contempt. People were ashamed 
of " mildness," as one now is ashamed of severity (cf. 
Beyond Good and Evil, aph. 260). The submission 
to law — oh, with what opposition of conscience the 
noble families have relinquished their privilege of 
vendetta and acknowledged the supremacy of law! 
" Law " for a long time was a vetitum, a crime, an 
innovation ; it made its appearance with violence, — as 
a violence to which man did not submit but with shame 
to himself. Every step on earth, however small, has, 
in past ages, been contended for with spiritual and 
bodily pangs. This entire point of view, "that not 
only progress, nay, the mere act of going, motion, 
change, has needed its countless martyrs, sounds very 
strange just to-day." I have placed it in its proper 
light in Dawn of the Day, aph. 18. "Nothing," I say 
in that work (aph. 18), "has been more dearly paid for 
than the trifle of human reason and of the feeling of 
freedom which constitutes our pride to-day. But this 
pride it is which renders it almost impossible for us to 
share 'the feelings of those immense periods of the 
' morality of custom,' which precede ' general history,' 
and which constitute real, principal and decisive his- 



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156 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

tory in which the character of mankind was fixed — 
those times in which suffering was identified with vir- 
tue, cruelty with virtue, simulation with virtue, revenge 
with virtue, the negation of reason with virtue; and, 
on the other hand, welfare with danger, thirst of 
knowledge with danger, peace with danger, pity with 
danger, the being-pitied with disgrace, labour with 
disgrace, madness with godlikeness, change with im- 
morality and doom ! " 

10 

In the same work (aph. 42) is explained by what 
valuation, under what pressure of valuation, the oldest 
race of comtemplative men was forced to live, — as men 
despised to precisely the extent that they were not 
feared! Contemplation has first made its appearance 
on earth in muffled guise, in questionable repute, with 
evil heart and often with a timorous head ; no doubt 
whatever ! That which was inactive, brooding, unwar- 
like in the instincts of contemplative men, for a long 
time enshrouded them in deep mistrust. To counteract 
this there was no other expedient but to beget fear 
in others. And this art the ancient Brahmans, for in- 
stance, understood to perfection 1 These most ancient 
philosophers contrived to give to their life and appear- 
ance a sense, a footing and backing, such as might 
teach their fellowmen to fear them. Considered more 
exactly they were prompted by a still more funda- 



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THIRD ESSAY 157 

mental need, — that of begetting, in themselves, fear 
and reverence of themselves. For in themselves they 
found all valuations turned against themselves; they 
had, against " the philosopher in themselves," to com- 
bat and subdue every variety of suspicion and opposi- 
tion. And, as beings of a terrible age, they did so with 
terrible means: self-cruelty, inventive self-mortification 
— that was the principal means of these power-craving 
hermits and thought-innovators who, to enable them- 
selves to believe in their own innovation, required to do 
violence to the Gods and to tradition in themselves. I 
recall the celebrated story of king Vicvamitra who, by 
thousands of years of self-torture, attained to such con- 
sciousness of power and self-confidence that he under- 
took to build a new heaven ; — the awful symbol of the 
oldest as well as of the most recent philosopher's his- 
tory on earth ; — all those who undertook at some time 
or other to build a new heaven found the power for 
such an undertaking only in their own hell. Let us 
compress all facts into short formulae: the philosophi- 
cal spirit has at all times been compelled to adopt pro- 
visionally the garb and guise of the priorily-established 
type of contemplative man, as priest, sorcerer, sooth- 
sayer, — in general, as religious man, in order to be, m 
some measure at least, even so much as possible. For a 
long time the ascetic ideal served the philosopher as a 
form of appearance, as a condition of existence. He 
had to represent this ideal, to be able to be philoso- 



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IJ8 A GENEALOGY OF MOKALS 

pher ; he had to believe in this ideal, to be able to 
represent it The peculiarly world-negating, life-hos- 
tile, sense-doubting, de-sensualised state of aloof-keep- 
ing of philosophers, which has been maintained up to 
most recent times, and thereby has almost come to be 
recognised as the philosophers' attitude as such, — is, 
above all, a consequence of a deficiency and of the 
conditions under which philosophy came into, and 
maintained her existence, in so far as for the longest 
time philosophy would have been quite impossible on 
earth, but for some ascetic garb and integument, but 
for some ascetic self -misunderstanding. Clearly and 
ostensibly expressed : the ascetic priest has until quite 
recent times acted as the dismal and repulsive larva 
under which alone philosophy was permitted to live 
and move about .... Has this state of affairs really 
changed? Has that many-coloured and dangerous 
winged-animal, that " spirit " which this larva con- 
tained, thanks to a sunnier, warmer, more enlight- 
ened world, after all succeeded in breaking its prison 
and in escaping to the light of day ? Is the supply of 
pride, of daring, of bravery, of self-confidence, of will 
of the spirit, of will to responsibility, of freedom of 
will, already large enough to-day for "the philosopher" 
to be henceforth really — possible on earth ? . . . . 



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THIRD ESSAY 159 

II 

Only now, after having gained sight of the ascetic 
priest, we attack seriously our problem : what does the 
ascetic ideal mean? — Only now matters are growing 
" earnest." Now we stand face to face with the true 
representative of all earnest. "What does all earnest 
mean ? " This even still more fundamental question will 
perhaps forthwith prepare to escape our lips : a question 
for physiologists, of course, which we, however, for the 
present slide past. The ascetic priest has in that ideal 
not only his faith, but also his will, his power, his in- 
terest. His right to exist stands and falls with that 
ideal; no wonder if here we encounter a dangerous 
antagonist (assuming us to be the antagonists of that 
ideal), an antagonist who will fight for his existence 
against the deniers of that ideal ? . , , . On the other 
hand it will ipso facto not be very probable that such a 
prepossession in favour of our problem will be espe- 
cially useful for it. The ascetic priest himself will not 
very likely make the most successful defender of his 
own ideal (for precisely the same reason that a woman 
is wont to make a mess of it, when she undertakes to 
defend "woman as such") and far less the most objec- 
tive judge and referee in the controversy raised here. 
More likely — and this much is plain even now — he 
will need our help in order to defend himself well 
against ourselves, than that we need fear a too good 



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l60 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

refutation on his part .... The thought, round which 
the struggle turns, is the valuation of our life as pro- 
nounced hy the ascetic priest Life (together with that 
of which it forms part — "nature," "world," the entire 
sphere of becoming and of change) is brought by him 
into relation with an existence of an altogether differ- 
ent kind, to which it bears an antithetical and exclu- 
sive attitude, unless it be that it turn against itself, that 
it negate itself. In this case — the case of an ascetic 
life — life is regarded as a bridge leading to that other 
existence. The ascetic treats life as a wrong way 
which man had best retrace to the point whence it 
starts; or as an error which can be, should be dis- 
proved by our deeds. For he demands, that one 
should follow him ; he enforces, wherever he can, his 
valuation of existence. What does that mean? A 
manner of valuation thus eccentric is not marked down 
in the history of man, as an exception and curiosum. 
It is one of the most diffused and longest facts in exist- 
ence. Read from some far-off star, the majuscules of 
our earthly existence would perhaps lead the looker-on 
to infer that our earth is the essentially ascetic star, — 
a corner of malcontent, conceited and ugly creatures, 
unable to rid themselves of a deep chagrin at self, at 
the earth, at all life, and causing each other as much 
pain as possible, from the pleasure of causing pain : — 
probably, their only pleasure. Let us but consider how 
regularly, how universally, how almost at any period, 



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THIRD ESSAY l6l 

the ascetic priest makes his appearance; he does not 
belong, exclusively, to any one race ; he flourishes any- 
where ; he grows out of all classes. Wrong it were 
to suppose that he fosters and propagates his man- 
ner of valuation by way of heredity. The contrary is 
the case : a deep instinct rather denies him, all in all, 
propagation. It must be a necessity of cardinal import, 
which will have this kind of life-inimical species thrive 
and flourish again and again, — or, perhaps, it is an 
interest of life itself, which prevents this type of self- 
contradiction from dying out. For an ascetic life is a 
self-contradiction. Here a most extraordinary resent- 
ment prevails, — the resentment of an insatiate instinct 
and will to power, which would fain lord it — not 
merely over something in life but over life itself, over 
the deepest, strongest, and most fundamental condi- 
tions of life. Here an attempt is made to use power 
for the purpose of stopping the sources of power. 
Here physiological thriving itself, — especially, its ex- 
pression, beauty and joy, is viewed with dark and jeal- 
ous eye ; whereas a satisfaction is felt and sought in all 
abortive, degenerate growth, in pain, in mishap, in ugli- 
ness, in voluntary detraction, in self-mortification, in 
seif-castigation, in self-sacrificing. All this is paradoxi- 
cal in the highest degree. We have before us a case 
of duality which wills itself dual; which in this suf- 
fering enjoys itself and grows more and ever more 
self-confident and triumphant, in proportion as its 



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I 62 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

own presupposition — physiological vitality — dimin- 
ishes. "Triumph in the very hour of last agony," 
under this superlative symbol all battles of the ascetic 
ideal have ever been fought In this riddle of seduc- 
tion, in this emblem of ecstasy and torture, it perceived 
its own brightest light, its salvation, its final victory. 
Crux, nux, lux, — these three with it are one, 

12 

Assuming that this kind of impersonate will to 
contradiction and anti-naturalness undertakes to phi- 
losophise, — against what will it discharge its inmost 
arbitrariness? Against that which is felt to be most 
certainly true, real. It will seek for error even there 
where the functional instinct of life in an absolute 
way posits truth. It will for instance, in the manner 
of the ascetics of Vedanta philosophy, abase corporal- 
ity to mere illusion, as also pain, "multiplicity, the entire 
antithesis between the concepts of "subject" and "ob- 
ject." Errors, all errors ! To refuse to believe in 
one's own ego, to deny one's own " reality " — what 
triumph ! no longer over the senses merely, over visible 
nature, no ! a much higher kind of triumph, a violation 
and cruelty against reason itself; which voluptuous- 
ness reaches its climax, when the ascetic self-contempt 
and self-scorn of reason decrees that there is a realm 
of truth and of being, but just reason is shut out from 



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," ft '■ ' i *' " THIRD ESSAY 1 63 

it. (By the bye: even in the Kantian concept of the 
"intelligible character of things" a trace of this 
libidinous asceticist-duality — which delights in setting 
reason against reason — still remains. "Intelligible 
character," to wit, with Kant betokens a kind of con- 
dition of things of which the intellect comprehends 
just this that it is for the intellect altogether incom- 
prehensible.') — Let us finally — cognisers as we are — 
be not ungrateful to such resolute subversions of the 
ordinary perspectives and valuations with which the 
spirit has, for all too long a time and, as it would seem, 
criminally and futilely raged against itself! Thus to 
see and to will to see things in another manner forms 
a most excellent training and preparation of the intel- 
lect for its future "objectivity," — understanding the 
latter to be not an " uninterested contemplation " 
(which is a perversity and misconcept) but as the fac- 
ulty of commanding and disposing, at perfect pleasure, 
of our For and our Against, to put in and unhinge 
them: so that one knows how to make use of the 
very manifoldness of perspectives and emotional inter- 
pretations for the furtherance of knowledge. For, 
Messrs. philosophers, let us henceforth guard ourselves 
better against the dangerous, old fabling with concepts 
which posited a "pure, will-less, painless, timeless sub- 
ject of knowledge;" let us guard ourselves against 
the clutches of such contradictory concepts as "pure 
reason," "absolute spirituality," "cognition as such." 



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164 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

Here always an eye is postulated to be conceived which 
cannot be conceived; an eye which is asked to have 
no direction at all; an eye the active and interpreta- 
tive faculties of which are asked to be tied up or want- 
ing altogether, — through which alone a looking at 
becomes a seeing something; i.e., a perversity and 
misconcept of an eye is postulated. There is no other 
seeing but a perspective seeing; there is no other 
knowing but a perspective " knowing ; " and the more 
emotions we make speak on a matter, the more eyes, 
the more different eyes, we place in our face, the more 
complete will be our "concept" of this matter, our 
" objectivity." But to eliminate will altogether, to un- 
hinge — provided this were possible — each and every 
emotion — what? would not this mean to castrate the 
intellect ? . . . . 

But let us revert ! The kind of self-contradiction 
which seems to present itself in the ascetic, i.e., "life 
against life," is — this much is clear on the face of it 
— physiologically (and no longer psychologically) con- 
sidered, sheer nonsense. It can be but a seeming 
contradiction; it is to be expected to be a kind of 
provisional expression, an interpretation, formula, ac- 
commodation, a psychological misunderstanding of a 
something the real nature of which could, for a long 
time, not be understood, not be denoted by itself — a 



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THIRD ESSAY 165 

mere word crammed into an old gap of human know- 
ledge; And, to state briefly the facts of the case: 
the ascetic ideal is prompted by the self-protective and J 
self-preservative instinct of degenerating life, — a life 
which struggles for existence and seeks to maintain 
itself by all means; it points to a partial physiologi- 
cal stagnation and languishment which the deepest, 
intact-preserved instincts of life incessantly seek to 
counteract with ever changing means and inventions. 
The ascetic ideal is such a means : and hence, pre- 
cisely the reverse is the case from what the wor- 
shippers of this ideal believe, — in it and through it, 
life struggles with and against death ; the ascetic ideal 
is an artifice for the preservation of life. In the fact 
that this ideal could, to the extent that history teaches 
us, sway and prevail over man, and especially wherever 
the civilising and taming of man was enforced, an im- 
portant truth is expressed: the morbidity of the type 
of man which hitherto prevailed, at least of tamed 
man ; the physiological wrestling of man with death 
(more exactly stated : with the surfeit of life, with 
weariness, with the wish for the " end "). The ascetic 
priest is the incarnate wish for a state of being other- 
wise, being elsewhere; in fact, the highest grade of 
this wish, the hottest fervour and passion of this wish. 
But the very power of his wishing is the chain which 
binds him fast to life and makes him a tool for bring- 
ing about more favourable conditions, for being here 



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l66 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

and being a man. By this very power and by leading 
them instinctively as their shepherd, he holds fast to 
existence the entire herd of the mis-fashioned, the dis- 
appointed, the maltreated, the defective, every de- 
scription of sufferers from their self. I am already 
understood : this ascetic priest, this seeming enemy 
of life, this benayer, — this very man is among the 
great conserving, and yea-creative powers of life .... 
On what turns it, that morbidity ? For man, no ques- 
tion whatever, is sicker, less secure, more changeable, 
more unfixed than any other animal, — he is the sick 
animal. And why so? Certainly he has also dared 
more, innovated more, defied more, challenged fate 
more than all other animals taken together, — he, the 
great self-experimenter, the unsatisfied and insatiate 
one, struggling with animal nature and the gods for 
final supremacy, — he, the still unconquered, the eter- 
nally futurous one who finds no rest from his own 
thronging power, so that his future like a spur inex- 
orably rakes the flesh of every Now of his. How 
could it happen that such a courageous and rich ani- 
mal should not also be of all sick animals the one 
most jeopardised, the one with the longest and deepest 
sickness ? Man is satiated to surfeit, often enough ; 
there are entire epidemics of this satiety ( — for in- 
stance, about the year 1348, the time of the "dance 
of death"). But even this nausea, this weariness, this 
self-annoyance, — all this becomes so powerfully ap- 



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THIRD ESSAY 167 

parent in him that at once it turns into an additional 
fetter. The Nay which he pronounces upon life, 
brings to light, as if by magic, an abundance of more 
delicate Yeas. Nay, when he has wounded himself — 
this master of destruction, of self-destruction, — it is 
the wound itself which forces him to live .... 

14 

The more normal the sickliness in man — and we 
cannot deny this normality — the more highly those 
rare cases of spiritual and bodily capability, the lucky 
cases of man, should be honoured ; and the more rigor- 
ously the well-constituted should be guarded against 
that worst air, sickroom air. Is that done ? . . . . 
The sick are the greatest danger for the sound. Not 
from the strongest do bale and mischief come upon 
the strong, but from the weakest, Is that known ? 
.... All in all, it is by no means the diminution 
of the fear of man which is desirable. For this fear 
compels the strong to be strong, nay, as the case may 
be, even terrible. Fear preserves the well-constituted 
type of man. That which really is to be feared ; that 
which proves fatal beyond all fatalities — is not the 
great fear, but the great surfeit of man, and in the 
same way the great pity for man. Assuming that 
someday these two were to embrace in wedlock, then 
forthwith something most awful would inevitably be 



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I 68 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

born, — the last will of man, his will to the Nothing, 
nihilism. And truly, for that much has been prepared. 
He who smells not only with his nose but with his 
eyes and ears as well, will, almost wherever he steps 
to-day, experience a sensation as of mad- and sick- 
house air. (I am, as is but fair, speaking here of 
the realm of human civilisation, — of every kind of 
" Europe " existing now-a-days on earth.) The sickly 
are the great danger of man : not the evil, not the 
"beasts of prey." They who are ill-shaped, pros- 
trated and wrecked from birth — they, the weakest, are 
those who most undermine life among men ; who most 
dangerously poison and question our confidence in life, 
in man, in ourselves. Where do we not encounter it 
— that veiled look which begets in our mind a heavy 
sadness, — that retrospective look of the primordially 
aborted one, — which betrays how such a man speaks 
to himself; that look which is a sigh. "Would I 
were some one else!" this look will sigh. "But all 
hope is vain. I am he that I am. How could I flee 
myself from myself? And yet I am tired of myself ." 
Out of such a soil of self-contempt — a truly swampy 
soil, every weed and poisonous herb will grow, and 
everything so pettily, so secretly, so dishonestly, so 
sweetishly. Here the feelings of resentment and re- 
venge will swarm like so much vermin; here the air 
will stink of secretnesses and unconfessednesses ; here 
continually a net will be spun of the most malignant 



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THIRD ESSAV 169 

conspiracy, — the conspiracy of sufferers against the 
well-constituted and victorious; here the aspect of the 
victorious will be hated. And what a falsehood is 
employed to conceal that this hatred is hatred t What 
pageant of great words and attitudes; what art of 
'* righteous " calumny ! These ill-constituted — what 
noble eloquence streams from their lips! How much 
sugared, slimy, humble resignation beams from their 
eyes ! What is it they wish ? At least to represent 
justice, love, wisdom, superiority — such is the ambi- 
tion of these "lowest," these sick ones. And what 
dexterity such an ambition gives! Let people admire 
especially the counterfeiter-skilfulness with which the 
stamp of virtue, nay, even its metal " ring," the gold- 
sound of virtue, is imitated. No doubt, they have now 
got a monopoly of virtue, these weak and hopelessly 
sick ones. "We alone are the good, the just," they 
say ; " we alone are the homines bona voluntatis." 
They walk about among us like so many live re- 
proaches, like so many warnings, — just as if health, 
well-constitutedness, strength, pride, consciousness of 
power, were, in themselves, vicious things which one 
day must be atoned for, bitterly atoned for. Oh, how 
much are they at bottom ready to make others atone 
for ! — Oh, how much long they to play the hangman t 
Among them there is an abundance of such as are 
revengeful ones disguised as judges, who always carry 
about in their mouths the word "justice " like a poi- 



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170 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

sonous spittle; ever with rounded lips, ever ready to 
spit on everything which is not, like themselves, "of 
sad countenance," but cheerfully pursues its way. 
Neither is there wanting among them that most de- 
testable species of the vain, — those abortions given 
to lying whose ambition it is to represent "beautiful 
souls " and peradventure bring to market their bungled 
sensuality wrapped in verse and other napkins, calling 
it " purity of heart : " the species of moral onanists and 
" self-gratifiers." The will of the sick to represent 
some form or other of superiority ; their instinct for 
finding secret ways leading to a tyranny over the 
sound — where could it not be found, this will to power 
of the very weakest ! Sick woman especially ; no one 
excels more in raffinements — of ruling, of oppressing, of 
tyrannising, A sick woman will spare nothing living, 
nothing dead ; she will dig up the most deeply buried 
things (the Bogos say : " Woman is a hyena "). Let 
people glance into the backgrounds of every family, 
every corporation, every community : everywhere there 
exists the battle of the sick with the sound, — gen- 
erally, a silent battle carried on with little poisonous 
mixtures, with needle-pricks, with malignant sufferers' 
countenance, but occasionally also with that sick- 
pharisaism of ostentative posture which delights most 
of all in playing "noble indignation." Even as far 
as the hallowed realms of science it would like to be 
heard, — the hoarse indignant barking of the sickly 



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THIRD ESSAY I/I 

dogs, the mordacious lying and fury of such "noble" 
Pharisees ( — readers, who have ears, may be reminded 
once again of that Eugen Duhring, the Berlin apostle 
of revenge, who in the Germany of to-day makes the 
most indecent and repulsive use of moral bum-bum; 
Duhring, the biggest moral braggadocio now in exist- 
ence, not even excepting his kin, the anti-Semites). 
All these are men of resentment, these physiological 
failures and worm-eaten creatures, a whole, trembling 
soil of subterranean revenge ; inexhaustible, insatiable 
in outbursts against the happy, as well as in masquer- 
ades of revenge, in pretexts to revenge. When, we 
ask, would they attain their final, finest, sublimest tri- 
umph of revenge ? At the moment, no doubt, when 
they should succeed in charging their own misery, — 
all misery in the world — , to the conscience of the 
happy, so that someday these would begin to be 
ashamed of their happiness and probably declare 
among themselves : " It is a disgrace to be happy ! 
There is too muck misery!" But there could be no 
greater, no more fatal misunderstanding than if thus 
the happy, the well-constituted, the mighty in body 
and soul, were to begin to doubt their own right to 
happiness. Away, with this world "turned upside 
down ! " Away, with this shameful effeminacy of sen- 
timent! That the sick may not make the sound sick 
— and this would be the meaning of such an effemi- 
nacy — surely, this should be the first point of view 



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1/2 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

on earth. But for that the first condition is that the 
sound be removed from the sick, guarded from the 
very aspect of the sick, that they may not confuse 
themselves with the sick. Or, is it peradventure their 
task to be the nurses and leeches of the sick? But 
they could not more misjudge or abnegate their own 
task than if they did so. What is higher shall not 
degrade itself to a tool of what is lower; the pathos 
of distance shall to all eternity keep tasks asunder as 
well as other things. For the right of the happy to 
exist, to be there, is a thousand times greater; just 
as the privilege of the sonorous bell beats that of the 
belt discordant and cracked. The happy alone are 
the pledges of the future; they alone He under an 
obligation for the future of man. What they are able 
to do, what they shall do, that the sick could never 
and should never do. But in order that they may do 
what only they shall do, how could they be at liberty 
to act also as leeches, comforters, " saviours " of the 
sick ? And therefore, good air ! good air ! And at 
any rate, away from the neighbourhood of all sick- 
and mad-houses of civilisation ! And therefore, good 
company, our company! Or loneliness, if so be it 
must ! But away, at any rate, from the foul vapours 
of internal corruption and the secret worm-eatenness 
of the sick ! . . , . In order that we, my friends, may 
guard ourselves, for some time at least, against the 
two most fatal plagues which may have been re- 



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THIRD ESSAY 1^3 

served just for us — against the great surfeit of man j 
and the great pity for man. 

15 

If it has been thoroughly comprehended — and I 
must insist on the thorough prehension, thorough com- 
prehension of this necessity — that it can, under no 
circumstances, be the task of the sound to wait upon 
the sick, to make the sick whole, then also another 
necessity has been comprehended, — the necessity of 
leeches and nurses who are themselves sick. And now 
we have and hold with both hands the sense of the 
ascetic priest. The ascetic priest must be taken as the 
predestined saviour, herdsman and advocate of the sick 
herd; it is only thereby that we understand his vast 
historic mission. The sway over suffering is his king- 
dom; to it his instinct leads him; in it he proves his 
own most private art, his mastery, his kind of happi- 
ness. To understand the sick one and disinherited one 
and himself in them, he must be sick himself, he must 
be thoroughly related to them. But he must also be 
strong, be more completely master of himself even than 
of others, be undaunted, especially in his will to power, 
— in order to secure for himself the confidence and the 
fear of the sick, in order to be a hold, an opposition, a 
support, a constraint, a taskmaster, a tyrant, a god for 
them. He has to defend them, his herd. Against 
whom? Against the sound, no doubt whatever, and 



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174 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

also against their envy of the sound; he must be the 
natural opponent and despiser of all health and capa- 
bility which are rude, impetuous, unbridled, brutal, 
relentless, robber-animal-like. The priest is the first 
form of that more delicate animal which is quicker to 
despise than to hate. He will not be spared the 
necessity of waging war against the beasts of prey, a 
war of cunning (of " spirit ") rather than of power, as 
is self-evident ; for that he will, under certain circum- 
stances, be compelled to fashion of himself almost a 
new variety of the beast of prey type, or, at least, to 
signify such a type, — a new animal monstrosity in 
which the ice-bear, the agile and calmly-deliberative 
tiger-cat and, last but not least, the fox seem to be 
fused into a unity interesting and at the same time awe- 
inspiring. Suppose he is compelled by need, he may, 
with bearlike earnestness, gravity, sagacity, coldness, 
and superior craft, make his appearance among the 
other kind of beasts of prey ; as the herald and mouth- 
piece of more mysterious powers; with the resolution 
of scattering, wherever he can, the seed of mischief, 
discord and self-contradiction on this soil; and only 
too sure of his power to lord it over sufferers at all 
times. He brings with him salves and balms, no 
doubt whatever ; but before acting as a leech he must 
inflict the wound. Then, in the very act of soothing 
the pain caused by the wound, he will at the same time 
pour poison into the wound. For in this art he is 



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THIRD ESSAY 1 75 

master, this great sorcerer and tamer of beasts of prey 
in whose presence whatever is sound, of necessity be- 
comes sick, and whatever is sick, tame. And truly, 
well enough he will defend his herd, —this curious 
herdsman. He will also defend it against itself, 
against the meanness, knavery, malignity secretly 
smouldering within the herd ; against whatever is 
owned by all the sick and sickly among themselves. 
He wages a prudent, hard and secret war against 
anarchy and self-dissolution, threatening at any mo- 
ment to break out in the herd in which that most dan- 
gerous blasting and explosive power — resentment — , 
keeps steadily accumulating. To discharge this pow- 
der in such a manner as not to blow up either the herd 
or the herdsman, this is his specific artist feat, as also 
his highest usefulness. Were we to express the value 
of the priestly existence in the shortest formula, we 
should have straightway to put it thus: the priest is J 
the person who changes the direction of resentment. 
For every sufferer will instinctively seek for a cause of 
his suffering; more exactly, a doer; stili more defi- 
nitely a doer susceptible of suffering, and guilty ; in 
short, anything living against which, under some pre- 
tence or other, he may discharge his emotions — either 
in deed or in effigy. For the discharge of emotions 
is the greatest attempt on the part of the sufferer to 
procure for himself alleviation, — or rather, to bring 
about stupefaction of his pain. It is his narcotic which 



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176 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

he wants instinctively against pain of any kind. Here 
only, according to my supposition, is to be found the 
real physiological causality of resentment, revenge and 
their sister-feelings, i.e., in a longing for stupefaction of 
pain through an emotion. That causality is generally 
and, as I think, very erroneously, sought for in a coun- 
ter-thrust given in defence, a mere protective measure 
of re-action, a " reflex-motion " in case of a sudden in- 
jury or impending danger, such as is still performed 
by a decapitated frog which tries to rid himself of 
some macerating acid. But the difference is funda- 
mental : in the one case the guarding against further in- 
jury is intended ; in the other the object is to narcotise 
some torturing, secret pain which grows intolerable, 
by means of a violent emotion of any kind, and to 
remove it, for the moment at least, from consciousness. 
For this an emotion is needed, the wilder the better; 
and for causing it, some pretence is required. " Some- 
body must be to blame because I feel badly " — this 
kind of logic is shared by all the sick ; and this is the 
more the case the more the true — the physiological — 
cause of their feeling badly is hidden to them. (It may 
peradventure consist in a diseased state of the nervus 
sympathicus, or in an abnormally large secretion of 
bile, or in a poverty of the blood in sulphate and phos- 
phate of potash, or in pressures in the abdomen which 
impede the circulation of the blood, or in a degenera- 
tion of the ovaries and the like.) All sufferers show 



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THIRD ESSAY 177 

a frightful readiness and inventiveness in pretexts to 
painful emotions. They rejoice in their suspicion and 
in the brooding over wrongs and seeming injuries suf- 
fered from others. They ransack the intestines of 
their past and their now for dark and suspicious stories 
in which they are at liberty to revel in some harassing 
suspicion and narcotise themselves with their own 
poison of malignity. They will tear open the oldest 
wounds; they bleed to death from scars healed long 
ago ; they make evil-doers of friend, wife and child and 
whatever else is nearest them. "I suffer; for this 
some one must be to blame " — so all sick sheep think. 
But their shepherd, the ascetic priest, says: "Right 
so, my sheep! Some one must be to blame for this. 
But thou thyself art this some one ; thou thyself art 
alone to blame for this ; — thou thyself art alone to blame 
for thyself!" .... This is bold enough and false 
enough. But one thing, at least, is attained through y 
it; as we have seen, the direction of resentment — is 
changed. 

16 

Now my readers will make out what the ^Esculapian 
instincts of life have accomplished or, at least, have 
tried to accomplish through the ascetic priest, and for 
what purpose he has used, for the time being, the 
tyranny of such paradoxical and paralogical concepts 
as "guilt," "sin," "sinfulness," "perdition," "damna- 

N 



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178 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

tion ; " to render, in some measure, the sick harmless ; 
to destroy the incurable through themselves; to give 
the less diseased strictly the direction towards them- 
selves, a backward direction of their resentment (" One 
thing is needed"); and to make full use, in this man- 
ner, of the bad instincts of ali sufferers for the purpose 
of self-discipline, self-control and self-vanquishment. 
It is apparent that a " medication " of this kind (a 
mere medication of emotions) is nothing less than an 
actual healing of the sick in the physiological sense. 
One is not even entitled to maintain that the instinct 
of life therewith in any way has in view the end and 
aim of healing. A kind of crowding and organisation 
of the sick on the one side (the most popular term for 
this is " church ") and, on the other side, a kind of pro- 
visional protection of the more soundly-constituted, the 
more full-fraught; the tearing-up of a gap between 
the sound and the sick — this was, for a long time, the 
only thing done I And it was much! very much I 
.... [It will be observed that, in the present essay, 
I have started out with a presupposition which, with 
the class of readers I stand in need of, requires no 
demonstration: that "sinfulness" in man is not a 
matter of the fact, but only the interpretation of a fact, 
viz., of a physiological depression, — the latter being 
viewed in the perspective of morality and religion, 
which for us has lost its obligatory force. — The fact 
that any one feels himself "guilty" or "sinful," by no 



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THIRD ESSAV 1^9 

means proves that he is right in feeling himself so ; as 
little as that anybody is well merely because he feels 
well. I but recall the celebrated witch-trials. In those 
days the most sagacious and humanest judges did not 
doubt the actual existence of a guilt; the "witches" 
themselves did not doubt it, — and yet, such a guilt 
did not exist. — To express this presupposition in an 
enlarged form: "mental pangs" themselves I do not 
recognise as a fact at all, but only as an interpreta- 
tion (causal interpretation) of facts which so far defied 
exact formulation : as something, therefore, which has, 
so far, escaped our grasp and is scientifically not bind- 
ing — no more than a stout word in place of a con- 
sumptive interrogation mark. If any one cannot away 
with "mental pangs," the fault, roughly speaking, lies 
not in his "soul," but rather in his belly (I say, roughly 
speaking, which, however, by no means implies the 
wish to be roughly heard, roughly understood ....). 
A strong and well-fashioned man will digest his expe- i/ 
riences (including deeds and misdeeds) as he will his 
meals, even if he has to devour hard morsels. In case 
he fail to " get beyond " an experience, this kind of 
indigestion is physiological no less than that other — 
and, in many cases, merely one of the consequences of 
the other. —With such a view, one may, entre nous, 
nevertheless be the most determined opponent of all 
materialism . . . .} 



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ISO A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

But is he, actually, a leech, this ascetic priest ? We 
have already seen in what respect we are hardly jus- 
tified in calling him a leech, however much he likes to 
feel himself a "saviour," to be revered as a "saviour." 
It is only suffering itself, the distemper of the sufferer, 
which he combats; not the cause of these states, not 
actual sickness. This must constitute our most fun- 
damental objection to priestly medication. But if we, 
over and above, place ourselves in the perspective 
which the priest alone knows and holds, then our 
admiration will know no bounds in beholding how 
much he has seen, sought and found in it The miti- 
gation of suffering, the "comforting" in all its forms, 
appears to be his proper genius. How ingeniously has 
he understood his task of " comforter ! " How reck- 
lessly and daringly has he chosen the means for it ! 
Christianity, especially, might be called a great store- 
house of most ingenious sedatives ; containing, as it 
does, so many restorative, palliative and narcotising 
physics and potions; having dared, as it did, so many 
most dangerous and bold things for that purpose ; and 
having made out, as it did, in such a fine, refined, 
southern-refined fashion by what stimulative emotions, 
temporarily at least, the deep depression, the leaden 
languor, the sullen sadness of the physiologically de- 
pressed can be conquered. For generally speaking: 



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THIRD ESSAY l8l 

the principal problem of all great religions was to com- 
bat a certain heaviness and weariness which had be- 
come epidemic. We may posit as extremely probable 
that from time to time on certain spots of the earth, 
almost necessarily, a feeling of physiological depression 
will prevail over large masses of people, which, how- 
ever, from a lack of physiological knowledge, does not 
appear in consciousness as such, so that the "cause " of 
it, the treatment to be applied to it, can only be sought 
for and tried in an exclusively psychologico-moral way. 
( — This, to wit, is my most general formula of that 
which ordinarily is called "religion,"') Such a feeling 
of depression may be of the most diverse origin: 
it may, peradventure, be the consequence of an inter- 
mingling of all too heterogenous races (or of classes ; 
classes always express differences of descent and race ; 
European " resignation," the " pessimism " of the nine- 
teenth century is, in the main, the consequence of an 
irrationally sudden intermingling of the classes); or it 
may be due to a wrongly-directed emigration — a race 
having come into a climate for which its powers of 
adaptation are insufficient (the case of the Indians in 
India); or the effect of age and exhaustion of the 
race (Parisian pessimism after 1850); or to improper 
diet (alcoholism of the middle ages ; the nonsense of 
the vegetarians, who, of course, have the authority of 
younker Christopher in Shakespeare to speak in their 
favour); or of blood-poisoning, malaria, syphilis and 



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l82 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

the like (German depression after the Thirty-years' 
war which infected the half of Germany with pesti- 
lential diseases and thus paved the way for German 
servility, German faint-heartedness). In every such 
case on the largest scale a war is waged against the 
feeling of low-spiritedness. Let us take a short survey 
of the most important practics and forms of it. (Here, 
as is but fair, I pass over entirely the specific phi- 
tosopkers' -struggle against the feeling of low-spirited- 
ness, which, as a rule, is contemporaneous with it It 
is interesting enough, but too absurd, too practically 
indifferent, too cobweb-like and commonplace: e.g., 
when an attempt is made to demonstrate the errone- 
ousness of pain, — by naively supposing that pain 
must vanish as soon as the illusoriness of It is recog- 
nised — but lo and behold! it took good care not to 
vanish . . .). That dominating low-spiritedness is com- 
bated first of all by such means as will reduce vitality 
in general to its lowest point. If possible, no more 
willing and no more wishing at all ; to avoid all that 
causes emotions, that makes " blood " (to eat no salt ; 
hygiene of the fakir); not to love; not to hate; equa- 
nimity ; not to take revenge ; not to enrich one's self ; 
not to work; to beg; if possible, no woman, or as 
little woman as possible; in spiritual respects the 
maxim of Pascal "il/aut s'abHir" Result, expressed 
psychologico-morally, " self -mortification," " sanctifica- 
tion;'* expressed physiologically: hypnotisation, — the 



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THIRD ESSAY 1 83 

endeavour to bring about for man a state approxi- 
mately equivalent to the winter-sleep of some kinds of 
animals, or the summer-sleep of many equatorial plants, 
— a minimum of nourishment and metabolism with 
which life can just exist but no more rises to .the 
threshold of consciousness. To compass this end, an 
astonishing amount of human energy has been ex- 
pended. In vain perad venture ? . . . . That such 
sportsmen of " holiness," who abound at all times and 
almost among all peoples, did really succeed in finding 
for themselves a salvation from that which they com- 
bated by means of such rigorous training, this must 
not be doubted. By means of their system of hypnotic 
processes, they did, in countless cases, actually suc- 
ceed in getting rid of that deep physiological depres- 
sion, and hence their methodic reckons among the 
most general ethnological facts. Nor have we any 
right to count (in the manner of a certain clumsy 
kind of roastbeef -chewing " freethinkers " and younker 
Christophers) such an intention of starving the body 
and the "desire," as in itself among the symptoms of 
insanity. The more certain it is that it is, or may 
be, the way to all kinds of mental disturbances, — for 
instance, to "inner lights " (as in the case of the Hesy- 
chasts on mount Athos), or to hallucinations of sounds 
and apparitions, or to voluptuous outbursts and ecsta- 
sies of sensuality (story of St. Theresa). The inter- 
pretation given to this kind of conditions by those 



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I84 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

who are subject to them has, as is self-evident, always 
been as fancifully-false as possible. Yet, let people 
not over-hear the tone of most deeply convinced thank- 
fulness which sounds even in the mere will to this 
kind of interpretation. The most exalted state, salva- 
tion itself, that finally attained total hypnotisation and 
stillness, they always regard as the mystery in itself, 
for the expression of which not even the highest sym- 
bols will suffice, — as a putting up at, and return to 
the inmost nature, as a becoming free from all illusion, 
as "knowing," as "truth," as "being;" as an escape 
from every goal, every desire, every doing; also as 
a Beyond Good and Evil. " Good and Evil," says the 
Buddhist, — " both are fetters ; each is mastered by the 
perfect one." "Deeds and not-deeds," says the be- 
liever of the Vedanta, " do not bring him pain. Good 
and Evil, either he shakes from him being a wise 
man; his realm no longer suffers from any deed; 
Good and Evil, he has transcended both." This view, 
we see, prevails in the whole of India, in Brahmanism 
as well as in Buddhism. (Neither according to the 
Indian nor the Christian manner of thinking is that 
"salvation" regarded as attainable through virtue, 
through moral improvement, highly though the hyp- 
notising value of virtue be prized in these religions. 
This must be borne in mind. It is, by the bye, simply 
in accordance with facts. To have, in this respect, 
remained true, may perhaps be regarded as the best 



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THIRD ES5AY I 85 

bit of realism in the three greatest and otherwise so 
thoroughly moralised religions. " For the knowing one 
no duty exists " . . . . By the apposition of virtues sal- 
vation is not attained; for salvation consists in the 
being at one with the Brahman which allows of no 
increase of perfection ; nor is it attained by the depo- 
sition of vices ; for the Brahman, with which to be at 
one constitutes that which is salvation, is eternally 
pure." These passages are taken from the commen- 
tary of the Cankara, as quoted by the first true con- 
noisseur of Indian Philosophy in Europe, my friend 
Paul Deussen.) The " salvation " in the great religions 
we shall therefore honour. A little difficult we find 
it, however, to preserve a serious countenance when 
seeing the valuation at which a thing so small as deep 
sleep is held by these life-weary ones who have grown 
too tired even for dreaming ; deep sleep being re- 
garded as an entering into the Brahman, as the 
attained unio mystica with God. "When he after- 
wards has altogether fallen asleep" — thus we are 
taught in the oldest and most venerable " scripture " — 
"and fully come to rest, so that no longer he will 
behold anything in dream, then he is, O dear one, 
united with that which is ; into himself he has entered ; 
enshrouded by the knowledge-like self he no longer has 
any consciousness of that which is Without or Within. 
This bridge is not passed over by the day nor by the 
night, not by age nor by death, not by suffering, not 



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I 86 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

by a. good deed nor an evil deed." "In deep sleep," 
so say likewise the faithful of this deepest of the three 
great religions, "the soul rises from the body, enters 
into the highest light and thereby appears in its proper 
form : then it is the highest spirit itself which walks 
about, jesting and sporting and joying, be it with 
women, with waggons or with friends ; then it thinks 
no longer of this bodily appendage to which the prdna 
(the life-breath) is yoked, as a cart-horse is to the 
cart." Nevertheless, here also, as in the case of " sal- 
vation," we shall never lose sight of the fact that, 
however much resplendent with oriental exaggeration, 
at bottom the very same valuation is expressed, which 
was the valuation of the clear, calm, Grecian-calm, but 
suffering Epicurus; the hypnotic feeling of nothing- 
ness, the rest of deepest sleep, impassiveness in short. 
This state with the suffering and thoroughly-disap- 
pointed may pass for the highest good, for the value 
of values; it must receive positive value and be 
regarded as the positive itself. (According to the 
same logic of feeling in all pessimistic religions, the 
nothing is called God.) 

18 

Much more frequently than such an hypnotic sub- 
duing of all sensibility, of sensitiveness (which presup- 
poses comparatively rare powers, above all, courage, 
contempt of the opinion of others, "intellectual Stoi- 



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THIRD ESSAY IS7 

cisra "), another and much easier training is tried as a 
remedy for states of depression : machinal activity. 
That thereby in no slight degree a sufferer's existence 
is made more bearable, is true beyond a doubt. In our 
days this fact is rather equivocally called " the blessings 
of labour." The alleviation consists in the sufferer's 
interest being deliberately turned away from his suf- 
fering, — so that, continually, an acting, and again an 

• 

acting only, rises into consciousness, little room being 
left in consequence for suffering. For it is narrow, 
this chamber of human consciousness ! Machinal activ- 
ity and all its appurtenances — such as absolute regu- 
larity, punctual and unconditional obedience, the final 
regulation of habits, the filling-up of one's time, a cer- 
tain permission of, nay training to " impersonality," to 
self -forgetting, to incuria sui • — : how thoroughly, how 
cunningly, has the ascetic priest understood to avail 
himself of this activity in the war against pain ! Espe- 
cially when he had to deal with sufferers coming from 
the lower classes, with working-slaves or prisoners (or 
women, who, as a rule, are both in one, working-slaves 
and prisoners), all that was requisite for making them 
thenceforth regard things hated as a boon, a relative 
happiness, was a little art in changing names and ana- 
baptising things. The discontentedness of the slave 
with his lot at any rate has not been invented by 
priests. — A still more highly prized means in the 
struggle with depression is the ordaining of a little joy, 



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1 88 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

easily accessible and capable of being made the rule. 
This medication is frequently employed in connection 
with the one just mentioned. The most frequent form 
in which joy is thus ordained as a remedy, is the joy of 
bringing joy (such as doing good, making gifts, easing, 
helping, condoling, consoling, praising, distinguishing). 
The ascetic priest, by prescribing love for the neigh- 
bour, prescribes at bottom a stimulation of the strong- 
est, most "life-asserting" instinct, though in a cau- 
tiously weighed out dose — of the will to power. The 
happiness of the " smallest superiority," as afforded by 
all benefiting, serving, helping, distinguishing, is the 
most liberal consolatory means the physiologically- 
depressed are in custom of using, provided they are 
well advised. If not, they will harass one another, — 
in obedience, of course, to the same fundamental in- 
stinct. If we seek for the beginnings of Christianity 
in the Roman world, we find societies for mutual help, 
as societies for the aid of the poor, the sick, burial- 
societies, grown up from the lowest bottom of the 
society of that time, consciously practising that prin- 
cipal means against depression, small joy, the joy 
of mutual benefit. Perhaps, this was something new 
in those days, quite an invention ? In a thus created 
"will to mutuality," to herd-formation, to "congrega- 
tion," to the " comaculum" now in turn that will to 
power which has, though on a small scale, been thus 
provoked, must rise to a new and much fuller outburst. 



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THIRD ESSAY 189 

In the struggle against depression, the formation of 
herds is a decided advance and victory. The growth 
of community confirms in the individual a new interest 
which often enough will raise him above the most 
personal feeling of malcontent, the aversion from self 
(" despectio sui" of Geulinx). Prompted by a desire of 
casting off the sullen depression and impotence, the 
sick, the sickly, will instinctively strive for gregarious 
organisation. The ascetic priest makes out and furthers 
this instinct. Wherever there are herds, it is the in- 
stinct of impotence which willed, and the policy of the 
priest which organised herds. For let us not overlook 
this : it is law universal for the strong to strive away 
from one another, as for the weak to strive towards one 
another. Whenever the former enter into alliance with 
one another they do so (with much resistance on the 
part of each individual conscience) solely for the pur- 
pose of joint action and aggression and with the pros- 
pect of an aggressive joint-action and a joint- indulgence 
of their will to power. The weak, on the other hand, 
will gather together just taking delight in the gathering. 
In so doing their instinct is appeased, to the same 
degree as the instinct of the born " masters " {i.e., the 
solitary beast-of-prey species of man) is by organisation 
provoked and alarmed from the bottom. Beneath every 
oligarchy — all history teaches this — the tyrannic 
lusting is always hidden. All oligarchies constantly 
tremble from the strain which each individual member 



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190 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

requires to check this lusting. (Thus, for instance, 
was it with the Greek. Plato tells us so in a hundred 
passages, ■ — Plato, who knew his like — and himself. . . .) 

The means of the ascetic priest with which hitherto 
we have become acquainted — the quenching of all 
vitality, machinal activity, minute joy, above all, the 
joy of "love for the neighbour," herd-organisation, the 
arousing of the communal feeling of power, thanks 
to which the self-dissatisfaction of the individual is 
stunned by the delight which he takes in the flourish- 
ing of the community — these are, judged after modern 
measure, his innocent means in the struggle with " de- 
pression." Let us now pass to the more interesting, 
the "guilty" means. In alt of them the point is to 
effect an extravagance of feeling, — which is made to 
serve as the most effective narcotic against dull, par- 
alysing persistent suffering. For this reason, priestly 
inventiveness has been inexhaustible in the excogitation 
of this one question: By what can an extravagance 
of feeling be effected ? . . . This sounds harsh ; it 
is plain it would sound more agreeable and would find 
more willing ears if I were to speak in some such 
manner as this: "The ascetic priest at all times 
t availed himself of the enthusiasm contained in all 
strong emotions." But why flatter the dainty ears 

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THIRD ESSAY I9I 

of our modern tenderlings ? Why should we for our 
part make any concessions, however slight, to their 
tartuffism of words ? Thereby we psychologists would 
be guilty of a tartuffism of deed ; apart from the fact 
that it would beget nausea in us. The good taste — 
others may say "the honesty" — of a psychologist 
consists now-a-days if in anything in his opposing the 
shamefully-per moralised language by which as by a 
phlegm all modern judging on man and things is 
covered. Let there be no deception in this point: 
what constitutes the most pertinent characteristic of 
modern souls and modern books is not " falsehood," 
but the incarnate innocence in moralistic mendacious- 
ness. To be obliged to re-discover everywhere this 
"innocence," this constitutes, perhaps, the most repul- 
sive part of our work, of all the rather doubtful work 
assigned to the modern psychologist for his task. It 
is a part of our great danger, it is a way which may 
lead just us to the great surfeit I have no doubt as 
to the only use which posterity will make of modern 
books, of all modern things (taking for granted that 
the books will remain, which, it is true, need hardly 
be feared, and taking for granted, also, the existence 
— some day — of a posterity with sterner, severer, 
healthier taste). It can only be the use as emetics 
and this because of their moral dulcification and false- 
ness, their inmost femininism which delights in call- 
ing itself idealism and, at any rate, believes itself to 



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1^2 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

be so. Our educated classes of tc-day, our "good 
ones" do not lie, — I admit; but it is not to their 
credit I The proper lie, the genuine, resolute, "hon- 
est " lie (on the value of which Plato may be consulted) 
would be far too rigorous, far too strong for them ; to 
ask it of them would be asking what one dare never ask 
of them : to open their eyes upon themselves, to know 
how to distinguish between "true" and "false" with 
respect to their own persons. Them the dishonest lie 
alone befits. All those who to-day feel themselves 
as "good men," are perfectly incapable of looking 
at a subject in any other fashion than the fashion of 
dishonestly lying, profoundly lying, and yet innocently 
lying, naively lying, blue-eyedly lying, virtuously lying. 
These "good men," — they are now-a-days, each and 
every one, wholly and hopelessly permoralised and, 
with respect to honesty, spoiled and bungled for aye 
and evermore. Who among them could yet stand to 
hear a truth " about man !".... Or more tangibly 
expressed : who of them could stand a true biography ! 
.... A few symptoms: Lord Byron wrote some 
most personal things about himself, but Thomas 
Moore was "too good " for that : he burned the papers 
of his friend. The same is said to have been done 
by Dr. Gwinner, the executor of Schopenhauer's 
will. For Schopenhauer also left a few observa- 
tions on himself and probably also against himself 
("ct? eavTiiv"). The worthy American biographer of 



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THIRD ESSAY 193 

Beethoven, Mr, Thayer, came to a sudden halt in 
his work: having arrived at a certain point of this 
most venerable and naive life, he could stand it no 
longer. Moral : what sensible man to-day would write 
an honest word about himself ? — unless, perchance, 
he happened to be a member of the order of Saint 
Foolhardise. We are promised an autobiography of 
Richard Wagner ; — who doubts that it will be a smart 
autobiography? .... Let us but recall the comical 
excitement created in Germany by the Roman Catho- 
lic priest Janssen, by the extremely " square " and 
harmless picture which he drew of the movement of 
the Reformation in Germany. Imagine what would 
happen if some one were to give us a different 
account of the Reformation, if a true pyschologist 
were to paint for us a true Luther, — no longer with 
the moralistic simplicity of a country-parson, no longer 
with the honey-mouthed and regardful modesty of 
protestant historians, but peradventure, with the in- 
trepidy of Taine, out of strength of soul and not 
prompted by any prudent indulgence to strength? 
.... (The Germans, by the bye, have succeeded 
most admirably in producing the classical type of this in- 
dulgence ; (they may well claim him, claim him to their 
advantage): their Leopold Ranke, to wit, this born 
classical advocates of every causa forttor, this cleverest 
of all clever " matter-of-fact " men.) 



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194 * GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

20 

But I hope, I am understood by this time. Reason 
enough, — is it not so ? — why we psychologists nowa- 
days should fail to rid ourselves of a certain feeling of 
mistrust of ourselves f . , . . Probably we also are 
still "too good" for our handicraft; probably we also 
are the victims of, the prey of, the sick of this per- 
moralised taste of our age, much though we do feel 
ourselves to be the detesters of it ; — probably we also 
will be infected by it. What was it that that diplo- 
matist warned of, when speaking to his fellows ? 
j, "Messieurs," he said, "above all let us mistrust our 
first emotions ! They are nearly always good." .... 
In like manner every modern psychologist should speak 
to his fellows .... And this brings us back to our 
problem, which does really require some severity on 
our part, especially some mistrust of "first emotions." 
■ e The ascetic ideal in the service of an extravagance of 
feelings — he who remembers the preceding essay will 
anticipate in the main the summary of the contents of 
that which we have now to consider, and which is 
pressed into these eleven words. To loose for once 
the human soul from all its joints; to plunge it into 
terrors, chills, ardours, ecstasies, so as to rid it — as if 
by some stroke of lightning — from whatever is petty 
and trivial in depression, dulness and ill-humour, — 
what ways lead to this goal ? and which of them most 



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THIRD ESSAY 195 

unfailingly ? . . . . At last all great emotions capable 
of reaching it, provided that they discharge themselves 
suddenly, — anger, fear, lustfulness, revenge, hope, tri- 
umph, despair, cruelty ; and the ascetic priest has actu- 
ally without hesitation taken into his service the whole 
pack of savage dogs in man and let loose now one 
and now another; always with the like intention of 
awakening man from his slow dreariness, of putting 
to flight, for times at least, his dull pain, his linger- 
ing misery ; and this always with a religious interpre- 
tation and " vindication." Every such extravagance of 
feeling will, as is self-evident, afterwards make itself 
paid (it will make the sick one still sicker) ; and hence 
this kind of treatment is, judged by modem standards, 
a "guilty" kind. And yet, in behalf of equity, it must 
the more be insisted upon that this cure has been 
applied with good conscience ; that the ascetic priest 
has presented it in the deepest faith in its utility, nay 
indispensability ; that he even, often enough, almost 
broke down in presence of the misery which he 
created; and likewise, that the violent physiological 
detrimental consequences of such excesses, perhaps 
even mental derangements, are at bottom by no means 
adverse to this kind of medication ; which, as we have 
already shown, was not directed towards the curing of 
diseases, but towards the counteracting, the mitigating, 
the narcotising of the feeling of depression. The end 
in view was attained all the same, The principal ex- 



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I 96 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

pedient which the ascetic priest resorted to, in order 
to make the chords of the human soul resound with 
every kind of lacerating and ecstatic music, was — as 
everybody knows — simply this, that he took advantage 
. of the feeling of guilt in man. The origin of this 
Meeling was indicated in the preceding essay, as a bit 
of animal psychology, as no more. There we met 
with the feeling of guilt, as it were, as raw material. 
It was only in the hands of the priest, this real artist 
in feelings of guilt, that it took form — and Oh, what 
form ! " Sin " — for this name is the priestly re-inter- 
pretation of the animal "bad conscience" (of cruelty 
turned inward) — was the greatest event so far in the 
history of the sick soul. It is the most dangerous and 
most fatal artist-feat of religious interpretation. Man, 
suffering from self, in some way or other, most likely 
physiologically; peradventure like some animal shut 
into a cage ; confused as to the why, the wherefore ; 
eager for reasons (reasons lighten burdens), eager also 
for medicines and narcoses ; at last consults some one 
who " seeth also in secret " — and behold ! he receives 
a hint; he receives from his magician, the ascetic 
priest, a first hint as to the cause of his suffering : he 
is to seek for it within himself, in a guilt, in a bit of 
his past ; he is told to regard his suffering as a state of 
punishment .... He has heard, he has understood, 
the unhappy one. And now he walks off like the 
pullet about which a line has been drawn. He does 



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THIRD ESSAY Ig7 

not find his way out of this circle of lines: the sick 
one has been transformed into "the sinner" .... 
And now the aspect of this new patient, " the sinner," 
cannot be got rid of for some few thousands of years. 
Will it ever be got rid of ? Wherever we turn our eye, 
we are met by the hypnotic gaze of the sinner ever 
moving in one direction only (in the direction of 
"guilt," as being the only cause of suffering); by bad 
conscience, this horrible animal, in the words of 
Luther ; by a rumination of the past, a mal-interpreta- 
tion of the deed, the "evil eye" for all doing; by the 
will to misunderstand suffering, made the contents of 
life ; by the re-interpretation of suffering into feelings/ 
of guilt, fear and punishment; by the scourge, the 
penitential garb, the starving body, contrition ; by the 
self-racking of the sinner in the cruel machinery of a 
restless, sickly-voluptuous conscience; by the silent 
pain, the extremest fear, the agony of a tortured heart, 
the convulsions of an unknown happiness, the cry for 
"salvation." And truly, by means of this system of 
processes, former depression, heaviness and weariness 
were completely conquered; life once more became 
very interesting. Waking, for ever waking, over- 
watched, glowing, charred, pining and yet not tired — 
thus looked the man, the "sinner," who now had be- 
come initiated in these mysteries. The ascetic priest, 
this grand old magician, in the battle against uneasi- 
ness — he had most certainly conquered, his kingdom 



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I98 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

had come. Now men no longer railed against pain, 
no, they panted for pain. " More pain ! more pain ! " 
thus for centuries cried the longing of his disciples 
and initiated ones. Every extravagance of feeling 
which begot pain, everything which prostrated, cast 
down, crushed, removed, transfigured, the secret of the 
torture chambers, the inventiveness of hell itself — all 
was now unravelled, found out, utilised ; all was at the 
service of the magician; all served henceforth to the 
victory of his ideal, the ascetic ideal. *' My kingdom is 
not of this world" — he kept saying now as ever. 
Had he really still the right to say so ? . . . , Goethe 
maintained that there are but thirty-six tragic situa- 
tions. We might tell from this, if we did not know it 
otherwise, that Goethe was not an ascetic priest Such 
a one knows more .... 



21 

In reference to this entire kind of priestly medi- 
cation, the "guilty" kind, every word of criticism is 
superfluous. That such an extravagance of feeling as 
the ascetic priest is wont to prescribe his patients in 
this case (calling it, of course, by the holiest names 
and being himself thoroughly convinced of the holiness 
of his purpose) did really benefit a sick one, who 
would like to maintain an assertion of this sort ? At 
least, people should understand each other about the 



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THIRD ESSAY I 99 

word "benefit." If it is intended to convey that such 
a system of treatment has improved man, I do not 
contradict ; but I add what I call " improved " — viz., 
much the same as "tamed," "weakened," "dispirited,"^ 
" refined," " effeminate," " unmanned " (which is almost 
equivalent to injured ....). But when it is princi- 
pally the case of sick, ill-humoured, depressed persons, 
such a system, granting even that it did make the 
patient "better," at any rate made him sicker. Let 
people but consult a physician of a lunatic asylum, as 
to the result of every methodical application of peni- 
tential tortures, of contritions, fits of salvation and the 
like. History, also, may be consulted. Wherever the 
ascetic priest succeeded in enforcing this treatment of 
the sick, the diseasedness with most alarming rapidity 
spread in intensity and extent. And what was always 
the "result?" A shattered nervous system, in addi- 
tion to what was sick already ; and this holds true on 
the largest scale as on the smallest, for individuals as 
for masses. In the suite of penitential and salvational 
training we find enormous epileptic epidemics, — the 
largest that history records — , such as those of the 
" St. Vitus- and St. John-dancers " in the middle ages. 
We find (and this is another variety of its conse- 
quence) frightful paralyses and chronic depressions 
with which under given circumstances the tempera- 
ment of a people or a city (Geneva, Bale) for ever 
turns into its contrary. Here also belongs the witch 



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200 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

hysteria, something akin to somnambulism (there were 
eight great epidemic outbreaks of this disease merely 
between 1564 and 1605). So also we find in the suite 
of this training those death-lusting deliria of whole 
masses whose awful cry " evviva la morte" was heard 
throughout the whole of Europe, interrupted now with 
voluptuous, now with destruction-craving idiosyncrasies. 
The same emotional change with the same intermit- 
tences and alterations is noticed even now wherever 
and whenever the ascetic dogma of sinfulness gains 
once more some great success. (Religious neurosis 
appears as a form of epilepsy; no doubt whatever. 
What it is? Qiueritnr.) On the whole, the ascetic 
ideal and its sublimely-moral cult (that most ingenious, 
most unscrupulous and most dangerous systematisation 
of all means for bringing about an extravagance of 
feeling under the protection of holy ends) has im- 
printed itself in terrible and unforgettable manner on 
man's whole history ; and, unfortunately, not on his 
history only, I know of scarcely anything which to 
the same extent as this idea has affected destructively 
the health and race-vitality especially of Europeans. 
It may, without any exaggeration, be called the trite 
fate in the sanitary history of European man. At the 
most, the specifically Germanic influence might possi- 
bly be placed on a par with its influence. I mean the 
alcoholic poisoning of Europe, which has so far strictly 
kept pace with the political and racial predominance 



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THIRD ESSAY 201 

of the Germanics. (Wherever they inoculated their 
blood, they inoculated also their vice.) Third in the 
series syphilis might be mentioned, — magna sed prox- 
imo; intervallo. 

22 

The ascetic priest, wherever he attained to mastery, 
corrupted mental health; consequently, he corrupted 
also the taste in artious et Uteris; he does so still. 
"Consequently?" — I hope, I am forthwith conceded 
this "consequently; " at least, I shall not do so much as 
prove it. Here but one hint : it refers to the funda- 
mental book of Christian literature, its specific model, 
its "book in itself." While yet in the middle of 
Graeco-Roman magnificence, which was also a book- 
magnificence ; in the presence of an antique world of 
letters which had not yet been crippled and crushed ; 
in a time when it was still possible to read some books 
for the possession of which now half literatures would 
be given in exchange — the folly and vanity of Christian 
agitators — they are called church fathers — dared to 
decree: " We too have our classical literature, ive 
need not that of the Greeks" And so saying they 
pointed with pride to the books of ecclesiastical 
legends, apostolic letters and apologetical tractlets; 
somewhat in the manner that the English " Salvation- 
Army " in our days wages war, by means of a kindred 
literature, against Shakespeare and other "heathens." 



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202 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

\ I do not love the "New Testament," as my readers 
will have made out already. I am almost alarmed at 
being so isolated in my taste, as regards this most 
highly estimated and over-estimated work of literature 
(the taste of two thousand years is against me): but 
what boots it! Here stand I, I can no other. — I 
have the courage for my bad taste. The Old Testa- 
ment — how very different ! My highest respect to the * 
Old Testament! In it I find great men, an heroic 
landscape, and a touch of that rarest thing on earth, 
the incomparable natlveti of strong heart. Still more, 
I find a people. But in the New Testament nothing 
but petty sectarian affairs, nothing but rococo of the 
soul, everything adorned, cornered, whimsical, nothing 
but conventiele-air and (which is not to be forgotten) 
an occasional tinge of bucolic sweetishness which 
belongs to that epoch {and the Roman province) and 
which is not so much a Jewish as a Hellenistic trait. 
Humility and consequentialness side by side; a talk- 
ativeness of feelings, which is almost benumbing; 
passionateness, not passion ; painful demeanour ; ob- 
viously, in this case every education in manners has 
been wanting. How can one make so much fuss about 

•I one's petty faults, as these pious little people do ! No- 
body cares a straw for them ; God least of all. Finally, 

. they strive even for " the crown of life everlasting," — 
all these little people of the province. Wherefore? 
As reward for what? This is pushing immodesty to 



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— JHIRD ESSAY — 203 

its utmost! An "immortal" Peter — who could stand 
him ! They have an ambition which makes one laugh. 
They ruminate their most personal affairs, their stu- 
pidities, sadnesses, and common-place cares, as if the In- 
itself of things were obliged to look after their affairs; 
they never grow tired of twisting God himself into 
the smallest trouble in which they happen to be. And 
this persistent intimacy of God, betraying the worst 

, taste ! This Jewish, and not merely Jewish, forward- 
i ness towards God, with mouth and clutch ! . . . , There 

M,,— are small despised "heathen-peoples" in the East of 
Asia from which these first Christians might have 
learnt an important lesson, — some reverential tact. 
These peoples, as is witnessed by Christian missionaries, 
do not allow themselves even so much as to pronounce 
the name of their God. This seems to me rather deli- 
cate. Certain it is that not merely for " first " Christians 
it is too delicate. — In order to be aware of the contrast, 
let people call to mind Luther, that "most eloquent" 
and most immodest of all peasants whom Germany has 
ever had, the Lutheran manner of expression which 
just he appreciated best in his communings with God. 
Luther's opposition to the mediating Saints of the 
Church (especially, to "the Pope, the devil's hog ") was, 
no- doubt whatever, at veriest bottom the opposition of 
a boor who felt disturbed at the finished etiquette of the 
Church, — that etiquette of reverence peculiar to hie- 
ratic taste, which grants entrance into the sanctuary 



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2Q4 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

only to the more hallowed and more taciturn spirits, 
shutting out all boors. Boors must, once for all, be 
denied the right to speak here, — but Luther, the 
peasant, wished to change this at any price ; as it was, 
he did not think it German enough. He wished, above 
all, to speak directly, to speak in person, to speak with- 
out ceremony, with his God .... Well, he did so. — 
The ascetic ideal (I think the reader has made out this) 
was never and nowhere a school for good taste, still 
less for good manners ; it was, at best, a school for 
hieratic manners. The reason is, it contains in itself 
something mortally inimical to all good manners, — lack 
of measure, aversion from measure ; it is itself a " ne 
plus ultra" 

23 

The ascetic ideal has corrupted not only health and 
taste, but also a something third, fourth, fifth, sixth. 
I shall take good care not to state them all (I fear I 
should never come to an end !). Not the effects of this 
ideal it is in this place my purpose to set forth ; — but 
solely the meaning of it ; what it points to ; what lies 
behind it, under it, in it ; that of which it is the expres- 
sion, provisional, indistinct and overloaded with inter- 
rogation marks and misunderstandings. And with a 
view to this purpose, I was not allowed to spare my 
readers a glance upon the enormity of its effects, its 
fatal effects included; viz., in order to prepare them 



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THIRD ESSAY 20J 

for the final and most terrible aspect which the ques- 
tion as to the meaning of this ideal has for me. What 
means the power of that ideal, the enormity of its 
power ? How comes it that people have yielded to it 
to this extent ? Why has it not been better resisted ? 
The ascetic ideal expresses a will. Where is the an- 
tagonistic will expressing an antagonistic ideal f The 
ascetic ideal has a goal which is universal enough to 
let all other interests of man's existence, compared 
with it, appear petty and narrow. It inexorably inter- 
prets times, peoples, and men with a view to this one 
end. It recognises no other interpretation, no other 
goal; it rejects, be-nays, be-yeas, confirms things exclu- 
sively to suit its own interpretation. And was there 
ever a more completely spun-out system of interpre- 
tation ? It submits to no power, but rather believes 
in its prerogative over every power, in its uncondi- 
tional rank-distance, as regards every power. It be- 
lieves that there is on earth nothing of power, which 
does not owe its meaning, its right to existence, its 
value to it; it considers everything to be a tool for 
its work, a way and means to its goal, to one goal . . . 
Where is the counterpart to this corporate system of 
will, goal and interpretation ? Why is a counterpart 
wanting? .... Where is the other "one goal?" 
.... But I am told, it is not wanting; it has not 
only waged a long and successful war against that 
ideal, but even vanquished it in all essential points. 



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206 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

All our modern science is said to testify to this fact, — 
this modem science, which, being a specific philoso- 
phy of reality, to all appearance believes in itself only, 
to all appearance has the courage and will to itself 
and has so far managed to get along perfectly well 
without a God, another world, and be-naying virtues. 
But such noise, such agitator-gossip goes for nought 
with me. These trumpeters of reality are poor musi- 
cians. As is audible enough, their voices do not rise 
from the depth ; out of them does not speak the abyss 
of scientific conscience (for to-day scientific conscience 
is an abyss) ; the word " science " in such trumpeter- 
mouths being mere ribaldry, misuse and impudence. 
The very opposite from that which is maintained by 
them is true : science to-day has absolutely no faith in 
itself, not to speak of an ideal above itself, — and 
where it is still passion, love, glow, suffering, there it 
is not the antithesis, but rather the latest and noblest 
form of the ascetic ideal. Does this sound strange to 
you? . . . There are, I admit, plenty of worthy and 
modest labourers even among the scientists of to-day, 
who like their little nook, and who, because they like 
it, at times give utterance a little immodestly to the 
demand that everybody should feel contented, espe- 
cially in science, — where, as they say, so much useful 
work remains to be accomplished. I do not contra- 
dict; and least of all should I like to make their 
handicraft unpleasant to these honest labourers ; for 



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THIRD ESSAY 207 

I rejoice in their labour. But to say that much work 
is accomplished at present in science, and that there 
are contented labourers, is as yet far from proving 
that science, as a whole, has a goal, a will, an ideal, 
a passion of a great faith. The reverse, as I said, is 
true : where science is not the latest manifestation of 
the ascetic ideal, — (which is so in too rare, too noble, 
too choice cases to nullify the corporate judgment) 
science is a subterfuge for every kind of discontent, 
unbelief, mental gnaw-worrg, despeclio sui, bad con- 
science, — it is the unrest of ideallessness itself, the / 
suffering from the absence of great love, the feeling 
of dissatisfaction arising from an involuntary content- 
edness. Oh, how much is to-day hidden by science ! 
Oh, how much it is expected to hide ! The capacity 
of our best scholars, their inconsiderate industry, their 
head reeking, fuming, day and night, their handicraft- 
mastery: — how often all this finds its ultimate sense 
in the fact that they wish to hide something from 
themselves! Science as a means of self-narcosis — 
ye know of that ? They are occasionally wounded to 
the heart (as every one knows who comes into con- 
tact with scholars) by some careless word ; the wrath 
of one's learned friends will be brought down upon 
one in the very moment that one thinks to honour 
them ; they are disconcerted merely by one being too 
"heavy" to see whom one has before one, — sufferers, 
who do not like to confess to themselves what they 



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208 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

are, men narcotised and senseless who fear but one 
thing ; to recover consciousness .... 

24 

And now behold, on the other hand, those rarer cases 
of which I spoke; the last idealists among modern 
philosophers and scholars: they are peradventure the 
wished-for opponents, the counter-idealists of the ascetic 
ideal ? And in very deed, they believe themselves 
such, these "infidels" (for infidels they are, each and 
every one). And judging from the amount of earnest- 
ness evinced, from their passionateness as manifested 
in speech and gesture, it seems to be their last rest 
of belief that they are opponents of this ideal. But 
does it follow from this that what they believe is 
true t . . . . We " perceivers " eye, by this time, with 
mistrust every kind of believer; our mistrust has 
gradually taught us to reason reversely from what 
was reasoned in former times: vis., wherever the 
1 power of some belief rises into prominence to con- 
clude, as to a certain faintness of demonstrableness, 
as to an improbability of that which is believed. Nor 
do we deny that faith "saves." For this very reason 
we deny that faith proves anything. A strong faith 
that saves, renders suspect what it believes; it does 
not establish truth, but rather a certain probability of 
illusion. How does the case stand, then ? Those 
who to-day be-nay and stand aside ; these minds abso- 



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THIRD ESSAY 2CX) 

lute in one thing, in their claim to intellectual clean- 
liness ; these hard, stem, continent, heroic spirits which 
constitute the honour of our age; all these pallid 
atheists, antichrists, immoralists, nihilists; these scep- 
tics, ephectics, hectics of the spirit (for hectics they are, 
each and every one in some sense or other); these last 
idealists of perception in whom alone to-day the intel- 
lectual conscience stays and has become incarnate; — 
they do actually believe themselves emancipated as 
much as possible from the ascetic ideal, — these "free, 
very free spirits." And yet — let me tell them, what 
they themselves cannot see (" for they stand too near 
to themselves ") — : even this ideal is also their ideal ; 
they themselves represent it to-day, and possibly they 
alone ; they themselves are its most spiritual offspring, 
its skirmishes and outposts, its most captious, tender- 
est, most incomprehensible form of seduction. If in 
any respect I can read riddles, I wish to do so in 
this sentence! These spirits are yet far from being 
free spirits. For they still believe in truth .... When 
the Christian crusaders in the orient lighted upon 
that invincible Order of Assassins, that order of free 
spirits par excellence, the lowest grades of which lived 
in such strict obedience as no order of monks ever 
attained, they received in some way or other among 
other things a hint as to that symbol and tally-word 
which was reserved for the highest grades only, as 
their secretum : "Nought is true, all is permitted". . . . 
p 



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210 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

Good, this was freedom of spirit ; this was renouncing 
faith to truth itself .... Has ever any European, any 
Christian free spirit, become involved in this sentence 
and its labyrinthine consequences? Does he know from 
experience the Minotaur of this cave? ... I doubt 
it ; nay, I know it to be otherwise. Nothing is farther 
from these souls absolute in one thing, these so-called 
"free spirits," than freedom and emancipation in that 
sense; in no respect are they more firmly bound; in 
the belief in truth they are, more so than any other, 
firm and absolute. Perhaps I knowjdLlhi'i from all 
t oo immediate exp erjpnrF;. That venerable philoso- 
phers' continence to which such faith obliges; that 
Stoicism of intellect which finally forbids itself as 
strictly to pronounce a Nay as a Yea; that will to 
stand still before everything real, — the factum bru- 
tum ; that fatalism of "petitsfaits" (ce petit faitalisme, 
as I call it), in which French science now tries to 
reach a kind of moral priority as compared with Ger- 
man science ; that desisting from interpretation in 
general (which is violation, accommodation, shortening, 
omitting, stuffing, supplementing by fancy, forging and 
whatsoever belongs to the essence of interpreting) — 
all this implies, on the whole, an asceticism of virtue, 
no less so than any negation of sensuality. (It is 
at bottom only a mode of this negation.) What, 
however, enforces this asceticism — that absolute will 
to truth — , is the faith in the ascetic ideal itself though 



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THIRD ESSAV 211 

appearing as the unconscious imperative of this ideal 
(let there be no illusion about this point) ; is the belief 
in a metaphysical value of truth, a value in itself of 
truth, such as is guaranteed and chartered by this ideal 
only, (It stands and falls with it.) There is, strictly 
judging, no such thing as an "unconditioned " science; 
the very thought of such a thing is unthinkable, para- 
logical. A philosophy, a "creed," must always exist, in 
order that from it science may receive a direction, a mean- 
ing, a limit, a method, a right to existence. (He who 
holds the opposite view, who undertakes, for instance, 
to place philosophy "on a strictly scientific basis," 
requires to turn, not only philosophy but truth herself, 
upside down — the worst offence against decency which 
can exist, towards two matrons so venerable ! ) Indeed 
there is no doubt — and here my foyful Science may 
do the speaking (cf. book v, aph. 344): "He who is 
veritable in that daring and ultimate sense, as is pre- 
supposed by the belief in science, in so believing be- 
yeas another world than the world of life, nature and 
history ; " and in so far as he be-yeas this " other world " 
— what? must he not even thereby be-nay its counter- 
part, this world, our world ? It is still a metaphysical 
belief which underlies our belief in science. We too, 
we knowing ones of to-day, we ungodly ones and 
anti-metaphysicians, we too still take our fire from that 
conflagration which has been kindled by a two-thou- 
sand-years old faith; that Christian faith which was 



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212 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

also the faith of Plato ; the faith that God is the truth, 
that truth is divine .... How now, if even this belief 
should grow ever more improbable; how, if nothing 
should prove divine, unless it be "error," blindness 
and falsehood; how, if God himself should prove to 
be our longest lie? — Here we do well to pause and 
bethink ourselves a long while. Science itself now 
stands in need of vindication (which does not mean so 
much as that a vindication for it exists). Let people, 
as regards this question, look at the most ancient as 
well as the most recent philosophies. All of them lack 
the consciousness how far the will to truth itself stands 
in need of vindication. Here is a gap in every phi- 
losophy — how comes this ? Because the ascetic ideal so 
far lorded it over all philosophy ;. because truth itself was 
posited as the being, as God, as highest instance; because 
truth was not permitted to be looked at as a problem. 
Is this "permitted" understood ? — From the moment 
that the faith in the God of the ascetic ideal is denied, 
a new problem exists, the problem of the value of truth. 
The will to truth stands in need of a criticism (let us 
herewith define our own task) ; the value of truth must, 
by way of experiment, be put in question .... (If 
some one should find this too short a statement, we ad- 
vise him to read for information that section oi Joyful 
Science which bears the title : " How far we also are 
still pious," aph. 344 ; better still, the entire fifth book of 
said work, as also the Preface to Dawn of the Day.) 



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THIRD ESSAV 2 I 



25 



No ! Keep away with science, when I ask for the 
natural antagonist of the ascetic ideal, when I ask : 
" Where is the antagonistic will which represents an 
ideal antagonistic to it?" To he such a will, science 
is not by far independent enough; in every respect 
she needs some ideal of value, some power which 
creates values, in the service of which she is allowed 
to believe in herself. She herself never creates values. 
Her relation to the ascetic ideal is in itself as yet 
far from being antagonistic. She rather represents 
in the main the propulsive factor in the inner develop- 
ment of this ideal. Her opposition and fighting are, 
on* closer examination, directed, not against the ideal 
itself, but only against the outer fortifications, the 
garb and masquerade, the occasional incrustation, pet- 
rifaction, dogmatisation of this ideal. Science and 
the ascetic ideal — science frees life in it by denying 
what is exoteric in it. For both — science and the as- 
cetic ideal — root in one common soil, as I already 
intimated, namely, in the common over-estimation of j 
truth (more exactly: in the common belief in the tin- 
criticisableness and znestimableness of truth). Even 
for this reason they are, of necessity, allies — so that, 
in case they are combated, they cannot be combated 
or put in question but together. An estimation of 
the value of the ascetic ideal will inevitably involve 



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214 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

an estimation also of the value of science : open your 
eyes betimes to this fact, ay, and prick your ears! — 
Art, as I may say in advance, — for I shall at some 
time revert to this subject at length — art, in which 
just falsehood is sanctified, the will to illusion, has 
good conscience on its part, is much more than science 
fundamentally opposed to the ascetic ideal. This is 
what the instinct of Plato prompted to him — Plato, 
this greatest enemy to art whom Europe has ever pro- 
duced. Plato against Homer — this is the entire, true 
antagonism. On the one hand, the man of "another 
world" with entire will, the great slanderer of life; 
on the other, the involuntary deifier of life, the repre- 
sentative of golden nature. Hence the serving of an 
artist in the service of the ascetic ideal is the ther- 
oughest of all artist-corruptions possible ; unfortunately 
also one of the most frequent (for nothing is more 
corruptible than an artist). Also physiologically re- 
considered, science and the ascetic ideal root in one 
common soil. A certain impoverishment of life is the 
condition for each. The emotions cooled down ; the 
J step retarded ; instinct replaced by dialectics ; earnest 

£ impressed on countenances and demeanours (earnest, 
•» this most unmistakable sign of an impeded metabo- 

V lism, of a struggling and wrestling life). Witness the 

times in the life of a people, when the scholar rises 

^•into prominence ! They are times of languor, of sunset, 

of decline, — the teeming fulness of power, the confi- 



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THIRD ESSAY 215 

deuce in life, the confidence in a future being gone. 
The predominance of the mandarin never means any- 
thing good ; no more so than the rising of democracy, 
of peace-arbitraments in place of war, of the equality 
of woman with man, of the religion of sympathy and 
all the other symptoms of declining life. (Science 
taken as a problem : What is the meaning of science ? 
' — compare, for this topic, the Preface of the Birth of 
Tragedy.') — No! this "modern science" — open your 
eyes widely to this fact! — is at present the best ally 
of the ascetic ideal, and even for the reason that she 
is the most unconscious, the most involuntary, the 
most secret, the most subterranean! They have acted 
in concert so far, — the "poor in spirit" and the scien- 
tific adversaries of that ideal (let people guard them- 
selves, by the bye, against supposing that these 
scientists are the counterpart of these poor ones, 
that they are the rich in spirit. This they are not; 
I have called them hectics of the spirit). These cele- 
brated victories of the latter : no doubt, they are vic- 
tories. But victories over what? The ascetic ideal 
was not at all conquered by them ; on the contrary, it 
became even stronger, i.e., more incomprehensible, 
more spiritual, more captious, by ever again a wall, 
a bulwark which had been reared about the ascetic 
ideal and had roughened its aspect, being ruthlessly 
removed and broken down by science. Is it actually 
thought that the defeat of theological astronomy im- 



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2l6 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

plies a defeat of that ideal? Has here, peradventure, 
become less requisite to man some another-world-solu- 
tion of his riddle of existence because of the fact that 
since that time existence has looked still more fortui- 
tous, still more commonplace, still more dispensablc- 
with in the visible order of things ? Is not just the 
self-diminution of man, is not his will to self-diminution 
ever since Copernicus making irresistible progress ? 
Alas, the belief in his dignity, his uniqueness, his 
irre place ability in the rank-sequence of beings is gone ; 
he has become an animal, an animal without likeness, 
allowance, and reserve, — he, who in his former belief 
was almost a God (" Child of God," " God-man ").... 
It seems as though man, since Copernicus, had slid 
upon an inclined plane, — he ever more rapidly rolls 
away from the centre. Whither? Into the Nothing? 
into the "piercing' feeling of his nothingness ?".,.. 
Good! This were just the straight road into the old 
ideal ? . . . . All science (and not merely astronomy, 
on the humiliating and prostrating effects of which 
Kant has left a memorable confession : " She anni- 
hilates my significance ".,..), all science, natural as 
well as unnatural — thus I call the self-criticism of 
perception — tries to talk man out of his former self- 
esteem, as though it had been no more than a bizarre 
self-conceit. Indeed, one might go so far as to say 
that this constitutes her proper pride, her own, grim 
form of Stoical aTapafo, tp maintain this laboriously 



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THIRD ESSAY 217 

acquired seli-contemfit of man as his last and most 
earnest claim to stlt-esteem (and with good reason 
indeed, for he who despises is one who has not yet 
"unlearnt to esteem", . . .). Is this, then, a counter- 
action against the ascetic ideal ? Is it actually still 
seriously believed, that (as theologians for a while 
imagined) Kant's victory over the theological dog- 
matism of concepts such as "God," "soul," "freedom," 
" immortality " did injure that ideal ? In asking which, 
we shall, in the meantime, have nothing to do with 
the question whether Kant ever intended any such 
thing. Certain it is that every variety of transcen- 
dentalist since Kant once more plays a winning game. 
They are emancipated from the theologians: what 
happiness! He has betrayed to them that by-way 
on which they may now (on their own behalf and 
with the best scientific grace) follow out the "inclina- 
tions of their hearts." And again : who would now 
dare to blame the agnostics, — reverers, as they are, 
of the Unknown and the Mysterious in itself, if they 
now will worship the interrogation-mark itself as God ? 
(Xavier Doudan, somewhere speaks of the ravages 
which were occasioned by "l' habitude d'admirer 
I Unintelligible au lieu de rester tout simplement dans 
Finconnu; the ancients, he thinks, managed to get 
along without that). Supposing that all that man 
" perceives " will not satisfy his wishes but runs coun- 
ter to them and fills him with awe, what a godlike 



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2 1 8, A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

expedient to be allowed to blame not "the wishing" 
but "the perceiving" itself! .... "There is no per- 
ception; therefore there is a God:" what a new ele- 
gantia syllogismi! what a triumph of the ascetic ideal ! 

26 

Or did, peradventure, all modern historiography 
present a demeanour more certain of life, more certain 
of its ideals? Its noblest ambition now is to be a 
mirror; it disowns all teleology; it no longer under- 
takes to "prove" anything; it disdains to play the 
judge and finds therein its own good taste; it neither 
be-nays nor be-yeas; it only determines; it only de- 
scribes . . . All this is ascetic in a high degree ; but 
it is also in a still higher degree nihilistic. On this 
point let no-one deceive himself! We see a dreary, 
cold, but determined look — an eye, which tooketh out- 
wards like an isolated north-pole traveller (perhaps, in 
order not to be obliged to look inwards? or back- 
wards? ....). Here lies snow, here life is silent; the 
last crows, whose voice is heard, are called "Where- 
fore?" "In vain," "Nada!" — here no longer grows 
or thrives anything except peradventure St Petersburg 
metapolitics or Tolstoian "sympathy." But again, as 
regards that other kind of historians, perchance a still 
"more modern" kind, a libidinous, lustful kind, which 
ogles with life no less than with the ascetic ideal ; 



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THIRD ESSAV 2IO, 

which uses the word "artist" as a glove, and to-day 
holds a monopoly, as it were, of praising contempla- 
tion — oh, what thirst these sweet souls full of esprit 
create even for ascetics and winter-scenes! No! to 
the devil with these contemplative people! Oh, how 
much I should prefer to walk in the company of those 
historical nihilists through the dreariest, gray, cold 
mists ! — indeed, suppose that I must choose, I shall 
not refrain from listening even to somebody altogether 
unhistorical, antihistorical (such as that Diihring by 
whose melodies a yet somewhat bashful, somewhat un- 
confessed species of "beautiful souls" is intoxicated, 
the species anartkistica among the educated proleta- 
riat). A hundred times worse are the "contempla- 
tive." I know of nothing more apt to beget nausea 
than such an "objective" easy-chair, such a dainty 
relisher in the presence of history, half priest, half 
satyr, parfum Renan, the shrill falsetto of whose 
applause sufficiently betrays wherein he is deficient, 
where in this case the Parca applied, alas ! all too chi- 
rurgically, her cruel shears. This goes against my 
taste, also against my patience. In the presence of 
such spectacles, let him who is not the worse for it, 
preserve his patience. — I am exasperated by such a 
sight; I am provoked against the play by such spec- 
tators, nay, even more than by the play (history it- 
self, ye understand ?). All of a sudden Anacreontic 
humours come over me. That nature which gave to 



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220 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

the bull his horn, to the lion his %a*n? oBdvrov, to what 
end has she given me my foot? 1 .... To kick, by 
Saint Anacreon, and not merely to run away; to kick 
over those worm-eaten easy-chairs, that cowardly con- 
templativeness, that libidinous Eunuchism towards his- 
tory, that dalliance with ascetic ideals, that tartuffism 
of righteousness practised by impotence 1 My highest 
respect to the ascetic ideal, in so far as it is honest ! 
so long as it believes in itself and cuts no capers for 
us! But I do not like the coquette bed-bugs whose 
ambition is insatiate in the desire — to smell of the 
infinite, till at last the infinite smells of bed-bugs; I 
do not like the whited sepulchres which mimic life ; I 
do not like the weary and worn-out who wrap them- 
selves in wisdom and view things "objectively;" I do 
not like the agitators dressed up as heroes and wear- 
ing a halo of idealism about the straw-wisp of their 
heads; I do not like the ambitious artists who would 
fain represent ascetics and priests, and who are at 
bottom tragic clowns only; I do not like them either 
— the latest speculators in idealism, the anti-Semites, 
who to-day distort their eyes in Christian-Aryan-good- 
man fashion, and who, by an abuse (such as will ex- 
haust all patience) of the cheapest means of agitation, 
moral attitude, endeavour to work up all the block- 

1 An illusion to the little song Eft "yuraftrai ascribed to Anacreon : 
4ti?<i Kipa-ra raipoit 
jrXat )' tBuxtr It rots etc. 



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THIRD ESSAY 221 

head elements of the people. (The fact that every 
kind of spiritual humbug thrives well in Germany at 
present, is connected with the now-a-days undeniable 
and by this time palpable desolation of German spirit, 
the cause of which I seek in the all too exclusive nour- 
ishment by newspapers, politics, beer and Wagnerian 
music, together with that which forms the prime con- 
dition for such diet: first, the national confinement and 
vanity, the strong, but narrow principle, " Germany, 
Germany over everything" and secondly, the paralysis 
agitans of "modem ideas.") Europe to-day is, if in 
anything, rich and inventive in means of excitation ; 
indeed, nothing seems to be so indispensable to it as 
stimulants and distilled waters. Hence, among other 
things, the enormous forgery in ideals, these best dis- 
tilled waters of the spirit; hence, also, the nauseous, 
ill-smelling, false, pseudo-alcoholic air everywhere. I 
should like to know how many shiploads of spurious 
idealism, of heroic costumes and tinkle-tan kling of 
gallant words; how many tons of sugared, spirituous 
sympathy (firm: la religion de la souffrance); how 
many stilts of "noble indignation" for the benefit of 
the spiritually flat-footed ; how many comedians of the 
Christian-moral ideal would have to be exported from 
Europe to-day, so that its air once more might smell 
cleaner .... Obviously, this overproduction suggests 
the possibility of a new trade; obviously new "prof- 
its" can be made with small ideal-idols and corre- 



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322 A GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

sponding "idealists" — let this broad bint not be 
overheard! Who has courage enough for such an 
undertaking ? We hold in our hands the possibility 
to "idealise" the entire globe! .... But what say I 
of courage? Here but one thing is necessary — even 
this hand, an unembarrassed, very much unembar- 
rassed hand .... 

27 

Enough I enough t Let us leave these curiosities 
and complexities of the most modern spirit, which are, 
in equal degree, calculated to excite laughter and vexa- 
tion. Just our problem, the problem of the meaning 
of the ascetic ideal, can dispense with them. What 
has it to do with yesterday or to-day! These matters 
shall be handled by myself more thoroughly and more 
severely in another connection (under the head of "A 
contribution to the history of European Nihilism ; " for 
which I refer to a work, which I am now preparing : 
THE WILL TO POWER. An Essay Towards a 
Transvaluation of all Values). The only point I wish 
to emphasise in this place is this: the ascetic ideal 
has, as in others also in the most spiritual sphere of 
thought, at present only one kind of real enemies and 
injurers. These are the comedians of this ideal ; for 
they arouse mistrust. Wherever else the spirit is at 
work earnestly, powerfully and without counterfeiting, 
it lacks in any ideals whatsoever — the popular word 



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THIRD ESSAY 223 

for this abstinence is "Atheism " — minus its will to 
truth. But this will, this remnant of an ideal, is, if you 
will believe me, this ideal itself in its strictest, most 
spiritual formulation, altogether esoteric, freed from 
every attire. Thus it is, not so much the remnant, but 
the kernel of this ideal. The absolute candid atheism 
(and it is its air we breathe, we more spiritual men 
of this age!) is, therefore, by no means opposed to 
the ascetic ideal, as it would seem. It is, on the con- 
trary, but one of the latest phases of development of 
it; one of the final forms and logical results of it; it 
is the awe-inspiring catastrophe of a training for truth 
which lasted two thousand years, and at last forbids 
itself the falsehood in the belief in God. (The same 
trend of development has taken place in India, in per- 
fect independence, and therefore proving the case ; the 
same ideal forcing to the same conclusion; the deci- 
sive point being reached with Buddha, five centuries 
before the Christian era, or more exactly : already with 
the Sankhyam-philosophy, which Buddha popularised 
and transformed into a religion.) What, to put the 
question in its strictest form, has triumphed over the 
Christian God ? The answer will be found in my 
foyful Science, aph. 3 57): "Christian morality itself, 
the ever more rigorously conceived notion of truth- 
fulness, the father-confessor finesse of the Christian 
conscience, translated and sublimated into scientific 
conscience, into intellectual cleanliness at any price. 



/ 



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224 * GENEALOGY OP MORALS 

To regard nature as if she were a proof of the good- 
ness and the fatherhood of a God ; to interpret history 
in honour of some divine intelligence, as a perpetual 
testimony of a moral regulation of the world and of 
moral end-purposes; to interpret one's own experi- 
ences in the manner that pious people were for a 
long time wont to do, as if all were Providence, as if 
all were a divine reminder, as if all had been devised 
and decreed for the benefit of the soul's salvation — 
this is now past, this has conscience against it, this is 
by every finer conscience considered to be indecent, 
dishonest, trickery, femininism, weakness, cowardice. 
With this rigour, if in any one respect, we are good 
Europeans and the heirs of Europe's longest and 
bravest self-vanquishment " .... All great things 
perish through themselves, through an act of self- 
effacement Such is the law of life, the law of nec- 
essary " self -surmounting " in the essence of life. 
Always in the end the summons is addressed to the 
law-giver: " Patere legem, quam ipse tulisti" In this 
wise Christianity as a dogma perished from its own 
morality. In this wise, also, Christianity as a moral 
code must now perish. We stand at the threshold of 
this event. Christian truthfulness, after having drawn 
inference upon inference, will finally draw its strongest 
inference, the inference against itself. And this will 
happen when it will put the question : " What does all 
will to truth mean?" .... And herewith, my un- 



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THIRD ESSAY 225 

known friends (for as yet I know of no friend), I touch 
once more upon my problem, upon our problem : what 
sense would our entire existence have, if not this that 
in ourselves this will to truth has become conscious 
of itself as a problem ? . . . . Of this becoming-con- 
scious-of-itself of the will to truth — no doubt what- 
ever — morality will die. That grand drama in a 
hundred acts, which is reserved for the next two cen- 
turies of Europe — the most terrible, most questionable 
and perhaps also the most hopeful of all dramas .... 

28 

The ascetic ideal apart, man, animal man so far 
had no significance. His existence on earth implied 
no goal. "Wherefore should man be at all?" — this 
was a question without an answer. The will for man 
and earth was lacking. Every great human career 
was followed by the refrain of a still greater "in 
vain ! " Precisely this is meant by the ascetic ideal : 
that something was lacking, that an immense gap 
yawned round man. He was unable to justify, ex- 
plain, be-yea himself, he suffered from the problem of 
his significance. He suffered also in other respects; 
he was in the main a sickly animal. Not suffering 
itself, however, constituted his problem, but the lack 
of the answer to the cry of the question : " Wherefore 
suffer?" Man, the animal bravest and best accus- 

Q 



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226 A GENEALOGY OF MORALS 

tomed to pain, does not be-nay suffering in itself : he 
wills to suffer; he even seeks for suffering, provided 
that he is shown a significance, a therefore of suffer- 
ing. The senselessness of suffering, not suffering 
itself, was the curse which so far lay upon mankind. 
And the ascetic ideal offered to mankind a significance. 
It was so far the only significance; any significance 
is better than no significance at all. The ascetic ideal 
was in every respect the faute de mieux par excellence 
which so far existed. In it suffering was interpreted; 
the immense void seemed to be filled out ; the door 
closed to all suicidal nihilism. The interpretation — 
no doubt whatever — brought with it new suffering, 
deeper, more internal, more poisonous, more life-under- 
mining suffering ; it brought all suffering into' the per- 
spective of guilt .... But, nevertheless, man was 
saved thereby ; he had a significance; he was hence- 
forth no longer like a leaf in the wind ; sport of non- 
sense, of "no-sense;" he could now will something; 
no matter for the present whither or wherefore or 
wherewith he willed : will itself was saved. One can- 
not possibly hide from one's self what is ultimately 
expressed by all that willing, which has received its 
direction from the ascetic ideal. This hatred of what 
is human ; still more, of what is animal ; still more, of 
what is material ; this horror of the senses, of reason 
itself; this fear of happiness and beauty; this long- 
ing away from all appearance, change, becoming, 



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THIRD ESSAY 227 

death, desire, longing itself — all this implies (let us 
dare to comprehend it !) a will to the Nothing, a horror 
of life, an insurrection against the most fundamental 
presuppositions of life ; nevertheless, it is and remains 
a will 7 .... And to say once more at the end 
what I have said at the outset : rather would man 
will the Nothing, than not will .... 



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POEMS 

{TRANSLATED BY JOHN GRAY) 



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POEMS 1871-1877 



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TO MELANCHOLY 

Set it not down to malice or to folly 
That I, to do thee honour, prime my pen, 
Head bowed upon my knees, O Melancholy! 
Sit on a stump apart from other men. 
Thus even yesterday thou saw'st me dally, 
In morning air the hot sun beamed athwart: 
The greedy vulture screams along the valley, 
Dreams of dead carrion in a dead resort 

Foul bird, thou wast mistaken in my seeming 
So mummy like upon my settle! Lo, 
Thou didst not mark the eye, for rapture beaming, 
Proud and high-spirited roll to and fro. 
If it climb not to heights of thy attaining, 
Dead though it be to yon far waves of cloud, 
Deeper it pierces, Being's self explaining, 
Lighting the depths and rending every shroud. 

In the deep wilderness I often cowered, 

Ugly, like savages who sacrifice, 
Thy votary, and with thy graces dowered, 
O Melancholy ! having paid the price ! 

*33 



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234 POEMS 

So I delight me with the vulture's passage, 
The thundering of the reeling avalanche, 
Incapable of guile, to me thy message 
Was all sincere; thy visage dread and staunch. 

Thou, bitter Goddess of the wild rock-places, 
To show thyself anear to me dost joy, 
Threatening thou showest me the vulture's traces, 
The avalanche's yearning to destroy. 
The lust of murder which may not be baffled! 
The fangs are ever sharpened far and nigh ! 
The sweet enchantress of the steep rock scaffold, 
The flow'ret longs towards the butterfly. 

I am all these — I sympathise, abhorrent — 
The enchanted butterfly, the lonely flower, 
The vulture and the sudden glacier torrent, 
Trump of the storm — All is thy pomp and power, 
Thou dreadful Goddess to whose praise I falter, 
Low bending, head to knee, my fluttering song, 
Only to thy renown, — I dare not palter — 
For life, for life, for life I long! 

Treacherous Godhood, mete me not derision 
Who crown thee round with rhymes in pretty bands. 
He shudders who comes near thee, Terror-vision, 
He quakes to whom thou stretchest wicked hands. 



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POEMS 1871-1877 235 

Song upon song my stammering, halt tongue stutters. 
Shudders in shapes the rhythmic forms afford: 
The ink flows over and the penpoint splutters — 
Now Goddess, Goddess, let me — let me lord I 



AFTER A NIGHT-STORM 

Round my window didst thou hang in veils, 
Wreathen mist, sad Goddess ! through the day. 
Gruesomely the world of pale wisps trails, 
Gruesomely the swoll'n brook rolls away. 

Ah! thou hast of sudden lightning-gleam, 
Of the thunder's brawling, savage stress, 
Of dank poison of the valley's steam, 
Brewed the drink of death, thou Sorceress ! 

Shuddering heard I through the mid midnight 
Wailing of thy voice of weal and pain ; 
Saw the blinking eye ; thy awful right 
Brandishing the thunder-bolt amain. 

Cam'st my vacant pillow to disturb, 

Fully mailed and weapon-glistering, 

Struck'st my window with a metal curb, 

Spak'st: "What am I? Thou shalt hear the thing! 



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23^ POEMS 

"Am the eternal, mighty Amazon, 
Never womanly, dove-like, forlorn, 
Conqueress and tigress knit in one, 
Woman-warrior with man's hate and scom I 

"Treading death tread I whereso I tread, 
Whirring torches from my grim eyes hail, 
Poison is my thought — now kneel! Entreat, 
Worm, or crumble! Will-o-wisp, or fail I" 



THE WANDERER 

There goes a wanderer through the night 

With lusty gait; 

The crooked valley and the height 

Upon him wait 

Blithe is the night — 

He stands not still, he strides abroad, 

He seeketh out his unknown road. 

There sings a bird thorough the night; 

" Ah, bird, thou hast me in despite ! 

Why dost thou hold my thought, my feet, 

Pourest heart's languishing so sweet 

Into my ear, »o that I need 

Listen and heed — 

Why dost thou tempt me, dost thou greet?" 



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POEMS 1871-1877 237 

The gentle bird was dumb and said : 

"Nay, wanderer, nay! Be comforted; 

My voice is rife 

To tempt anear a little wife — 

What is't to thee? 

Alone is night not fair to me. 

What is't to thee? So were it best 

Thou go, and never, never rest t 

Why stay'st thou yet? 

How should my mellow music stir 

Thee, wanderer?" 

The gentle bird was dumb and thought: 
How should my flute-song tell him aught? 
He does not stir? — 
The piteous, piteous wanderer! 



4 
TO THE GLACIER 

At height of day, when first 

The Summer clambers to the mount, 

The stripling with the weary, burning eyes; 

He speaketh too, 

Yet may we only see his speech. 

And his breath floweth as floweth a sick man's breath 

Of a fever night 



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238 POEMS 

The glacier and the pine and fountain give 

Him answer back, 

Yet is the answer only seen. 

Then swifter springeth from the rock 

The torrent, as to greet; 

And stands, in white and quivering stems, 

For yearning still. 

And darker yet and truer peeps the pine-tree, 

As at all times; 

Betwixt the ice and the dead granite stone 

Breaks sudden lightning forth — — 

Such lightning saw I once : significant. — 

Even a dead man's eye 

May yet Once More be light, 

If his afflicted child 

Embraceth, kisseth him: 

Yet Once More may flow back again 

The spark of light, and glowing speak 

The dead man's eye : " My child ! 

Ah child, thou know'st how I love thee!" — 

And, glowing, all things here hold speech — the pine, 

Glacier and brook — 

In glances here the self -same words: 

" We dote on thee ! 

Ah child, thou know'st, thou know'st, we dote on thee ! " 

And he, 

The stripling with the weary, burning eyes, 



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POEMS 1871-1877 239 

Kisses them, sorrowful, 

Passionately, 

And would not go ; 

Only, like veils he blows his word 

From out his mouth, 

His cruel word : 

" My greeting is departing, 

My coming is return, 

And I die young." 

Then all is hushed, 
Doth fear to breathe; 
No bird doth sing. 
Then shuddering 
A shimmering 
Runs over all the rock. 
Then all in thought 
Is dumb 

'Twas height of day; 

At height of day, when first 

The Summer clambers to the mount, 

The stripling with the weary, burning eyes. 

S 
AUTUMN 

This is the Autumn ; which — doth break thy heart I 
Fly out! fly out! 



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24O POEMS 

The sun a-mountain creeps, 
And climbs and climbs, 
And rests at every step. 

How doth the world wax worn! 

On slackly tensioned strings the wind 

Plays out his song. 

The hope is fled 

To which he wails. 

This is the Autumn: which — doth break thy heart! 

Fly out! fly out! 

Fruit of the tree, 

Thou falterest, fall'st ? 

Reveal, what secret hath the night 

Taught thee, 

That icy pallor should adorn, 

Adorn thy purple cheek? — 

Thou'rt dumb, thou answerest not? 
Who speaketh yet ? 

This is the Autumn: which — doth break thy heart! 

Fly out! fly out! 

" I am not fair, 

— So speaks the flower-star — 

Yet men I love 

And men console — 

Now shalt thou look on flowers indeed, 



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POEMS 1871-187; 2 4* 

And bend above me, 

Ah! and break me — 

In their eye doth sparkle then 

A memory, 

Memory of a fairer thing than I: — 

— I see, I see — and thus I die ! " — 

This is the Autumn : which — doth break thy heart ! 
Fly out ! fly out ! 

6 

SONGS AND EPIGRAMS 

Start in time, and rhyme precisely, 
And for soul set melody: 
Such divine performance we 
Call a song. Or more concisely, 
Song is: "Words for melody." 

Epigram — new lands belong 
To it: it can mock, joy, tumble, 
Epigram can only mumble, 
Epigram is : " Sense sans song." 

If I bring both, will you grumble? 

R 



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MAXIMS 1882-1885 



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7 
WARNING: POISON 

Who cannot laugh finds nothing here to please him! 
Then let him laugh, or let the Old One seize him! 

8 
THE NEW TESTAMENT 

Here the holiest book of prayers, 
Weal and sorrow, see? 
At its portal stands and stares 
God's adultery! 

9 
AT SIGHT OF A DRESSING-GOWN 

When, in spite of gown in tatters, 
German comes to study matters, 
Woe, how that will alter it ! 
Stoutly clad and buttoned tightly, 
To his tailor leaves he lightly, 
To his — Bismarck, all the wit ! 
*45 



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246 POEMS 

IO 

A ROMAN SIGH 
" Deutsch " will the Germans have it, " teutsch " debarred ; 
Then "Babst" for "Pope"?— No, there they still are hard. 1 

11 
THE "REAL GERMAN" 
O peuple des meilleurs Tartuffes, 
True to thee, sure, my heart is ! 
— Swore, and by the swiftest ship 
Steamed to far Cosmopolis. 

12 
Every hunchback's hump grows steeper, 
Christians money-lenders scatter, 
Daily grow the Frenchmen deeper, 

And the Germans daily — natter! 

13 
TO SPINOZA 
Loving, unto the " One in All " turned round, 
Amove Dei, blessing doth redound 
From intellect — Shoes off ! thrice holy ground ! — 

1 The form teutsch which lacks any historical justification and has, 
probably, arisen by confusing the word thiadisk (deutsch), which 
means popular, with the name of the Teutons, has been used by ex- 
treme nationalists since the middle of last century, and has therefore 
something of jingoism about it. " Babst " is the older Middle German 
spelling for Papst, Pope, the latter form (with the hard p) now alone 
surviving. 



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MAXIMS 1882-1885 2 47 

— Yet underneath this love there gnawed, 
A secret brand of vengeance glowed, 
Jewish hate gnawed the Jewish God . . ■ 
Ah hermit, have I found thee out? 

14 
ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER 

What he taught returned again, 
What he lived will ever remain: 
Only look upon 
One who was subject unto none ! 

TO RICHARD WAGNER 

Thou, unto whom all bonds are qualm, 

Unrestful spirit, bound and tied, 

Laden with triumph, fetter-anguished, 

Flayed, and more sick and sick hast languished, 

Hast only poison drunk from every balm; 

Till, woe! to the cross thou also sankest, calm, 

Thou also, also thou art vanquished! 

Before this spectacle I stare, 

Breathing confinement; wrath and grief and gloom, 

Between the incense-clouds, the church perfume, 

Strange to me, full of dread and fear. 

Tossing my fool's-cap gaily, I went dancing home 

Through the bright air I 



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248 POEMS 

16 

TO THE DISCIPLES OF DARWIN 
You accept the mediocre 
Reason of this English joker, 
For "philosophy?" And thus 
Set him next to Goethe ! ' Lese- 
Majesty such purpose is — 
Majesty of genius ! 

17 
THE HERMIT SPEAKS 
To father thoughts ? Good ! then will I your master be. 
To make thoughts for one's self — I unlearn willingly ! 
Such thoughts command, — their maker may not swerve. 
And I — will now and never serve. 

18 

Whose word will one day rise and crash 
Within him much doth shroud. 
And who will be the lightning flash 
Must long — remain a cloud. 

*9 
RULES OF LIFE 
Wilt thou thy life should grace thee 
Above it shalt thou throne! 
Learn therefore to upraise thee! 
And therefore learn — look down! 



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MAXIMS 1882-1885 249 

Let not the sweetest virtue be 
From sweetening exempt ; 
To every pound of charity, see 
Thou add a grain of self -contempt ! 

20 

The loveliest body — but a veil 

In which, ashamed, — a lovelier hides. 

31 
RIDDLE 

Rede me the riddle the word conceals : 
Woman invents what man reveals. 

22 

The world stands not still; 
To night bright day is dear; 
Though it likes well "I will," 
"I like" delights the ear. 

23 

With wits wit well may trickle; 
The tickler is not hard to tickle. 

24 

'Twas here gold rolled, 'twas here I played with gold ; 
In truth gold played with me, 'twas I that rolled! 



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2JO POEMS 

25 

FROM DIOGENES HIS TUB: 

Need's cheap, you don't find bliss i' th' lump : 
Instead of gold I sit upon my rump. 

26 
TIMON SAYS: 
Be not too liberal; it doth belong 
To dogs alone to .... the whole day long. 

27 
FOR FALSE FRIENDS 

Thou hast stolen, and thine eye's unclean — 

Only one thought thou stolest — one ! 

Who ever hath so modest been ? 

Here, take this handful, and be gone — 

Take all my mine — 

And guzzle thyself clean, thou swine! 

28 
THE WORD 

The living Word I do respect: 
It springeth forth so gaily decked, 
Greeteth with nod so blithe and free, 
Sweet even in adversity, 
Hath blood inside it, snorteth clear, 
Creepeth in e'er so deaf an ear, 



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MAXIMS 1882-1885 25I 

And hangeth limp and curleth tight, 
Do what it may — it doth delight. 

Yet is the Word a tender creature, 
Of delicate and changing feature. 
If thou wilt spare the little bubble, 
Hold it with care and caution double, 
Nor roughly crush nor coarsely moil it, 
A wicked look may serve to spoil it — 
So shapeless then the Word behold, 
Without a soul, so poor and cold, 
Its morsel of a corpse all changed, 
By death and dying disarranged. 

A dead Word is a hateful thing, 
The driest, leanest Kling-kling-kling. 
Out on the hateful traffic — Fy! — 
By which the Word and Wordling die! 

29 

When next thy thought, 

Friend Yorick, comes to spoil thy peace, 

As now, for naught, 

Call it not : " God ! " A poor pretence, 

Tis not the less thy very child, 

Thy flesh and blood, 

So vexes thee and spoils thy peace, 

Thy little scamp and good-for-naught ! 

— Look to't thou spare him not the rod! 



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2$2 POEMS 

And brief, my friend, try something crisper 

Than dark philosophy — allow 

Me name a simple medicine, 

A house-receipt i' th* lug o' thee whisper 

— My remedy against the whim — : 

"Who loveth his 'God' doth chasten him." 

30 
DECISION 

I will be wise, my own to nurse, 
And not another's mood. 
Praise God who made the universe 
As stupid as he could. 

And if, as crooked as I can, 
I take my selfish trend — 
'Twas ever thus the wise began, 
And thus fools ever end. 

31 

All eternal founts of meaning 
Are, and have ever been. 
God's self — had he aye beginning? 
God's self — doth he e'er begin? 

32 
CONCLUDING STANZA 

Laughter is an earnest art: 
Must I needs with better zest 



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MAXIMS 1882-188$ 253 

Laugh to-morrow, I must know: 
Came the sparkle from the heart? 
Little serves the head to jest, 
If the heart denies the glow. 

33 

Dance of the thoughts, behold 

One of the Graces leads! 

How thou rejoicest the spirit of me! — 

Woe ! What behold I ? Fall 

Mask and the veil of the leader, 

Foremost in the dance 

Hurrieth pallid Necessity. 



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34 
THE HONEY-OFFERING 

Bring honey, ice-cool honey of the comb! 

With honey will I sacrifice to all 

That gives, that grants, is good. Lift up your hearts I 

35 
ZEAL AND GENIUS 

I envy the zealous man his zeal: 
Gold-bright and even flows his even day, 
Gold-bright and even back 
Down into the dark sea . . . 
And round his couch there blooms 
Oblivion, loosening of the limbs. 

36 
TO THE IDEAL 

Whom have I loved like thee, beloved shadow! 
I drew thee to rae, into me, and since 
I have come nigh to shadow, thou to body. 
Save that mine eye is all untractable, 

Used to behold those things outside its being : 
To it thou art ever still the " Out-of-me." 
Ah, how that eye bears me beside myself ! 



2 57 



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258 POEMS 

37 
TO FRIENDSHIP 

Hail thou, Friendship ! 

Earliest red of morning 

Of my highest longing! 

Endless often 

Seemed the path, the night, to me; 

And all life 

Hateful, without aim ! 

Now will I live doubly, 

That in thine eyes I have beheld 

Victory and dawn 

Thou dearest Goddess! 

1 

38 
"Pia, caritatevole, amorosissima" 

(In the Campo Santo) 

O maidenkind, that tendest 
The lambkin's tender need, 
From either eye thou sendest 
True light, and flame indeed ; 
Thou thing of mirth and wildness, 
Thou joyous darling, ah! 
So pious, heart of mildness, 
Amorosissima ! 



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POEMS 1882-1S8J 259 

What snapped so soon the tether? 
Who made thy heart to smart ? 
Thou lovest — 'tis not whether 
He gave thee all his heart? 
Thou'rt dumb — yet tears are thronging 
To thy mild eyelids, ah! — 
Wert dumb — didst die of longing, 
Avtorosissima ! 

39 
THE LITTLE BRIG CALLED "ANGELINE" 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Now a ship, one time a maid, 
Ah, and evermore a maid! 
Love the steersman to and fro 
Turns the wheel so finely made. 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Dizened with a hundred flags, 
And the little captain brags 
Beautiful upon my prow, 
Thinks himself the flag of flags. 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Out and far, a little flame 
Glows for me, I skip a lamb 
On my way ecstatic, oh : 
I was ever like a lamb. 



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26o POEMS 



Angeline — they call me so — 
Think you, like a little hound 
I can bark, and from my sound 
Mouth such fire and pother blow? 
Am not all angelic found I 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Spake a wicked little word 
Once, which my beloved heard, 
And was stricken and laid low: 
Ay, he died of that same word! 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Scarcely heard but leaped from cliff, 
Broke a rib, small wonder if 
Little soul made haste to go : 
Ay, for falling off a cliff! 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Soul, as 'twere a little cat, 
Once, twice, thrice, went pit-a-pat, 

Tenanted this shipkin so — 
Ay, it hastened to do that. 

Angeline — they call me so — 
Now a ship, one time a maid. 
Ah, and evermore a maid ! 
Love the steersman to and fro 
Turns the wheel so finely made. 



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POEMS 1882-1885 26l 

40 

MAIDEN SONG 

Maiden, I, whom thou beholdest, 
Yesterday was young and wise; 
Now am like the grimmest, oldest 
Gaffer — Not to the hair precise! 

Yesterday a thought came to me — 
Thought? A mockery and shame! 
Did you ever have a gloomy 
Thought? A little feeling camel 

Women dare to think but rarely ; 
Doth not ancient wisdom rede: 
" Let her follow, fair and squarely ; 
If she think, she wants to lead." 

Credit what she says ? I ? Never ! 
Like a flea it skips and stings! 
"Woman never think; however, 
If they do, they're worthless things ! " 

This is old and far-fetched wisdom, 
Beautiful and perfect presence ! 
Hear my own, my newest wisdom, 

All the wisdoms held in essence! 

Yesterday (I speak in duty) 
Spake to me a speech that ran: 
"Woman is a thing of beauty, 
Thing of interest is — Man!" 



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262 POEMS 

DESPERATE 

Fearful seem indeed to me 

All these spitting fellows! 

Run ? where can I ? how be free ? 

Plunge into the billows? 

See, the lips are ready cocked, 
Throat is jerked to clear it, 
Soon the floor is thickly pocked — 
Curse the Spittle-spirit! 

Rather place me on the eaves 
With the dunghill scratchers; 
Rather make me free of thieves, 
Perjurers and lechers ! 

Curse on culture, if it spit! 
Curse the chaste and little 1 
Purest sanctity — why it 
Hasn't golden spittle. 

42 
HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN 

Since this book has grown up, sore shame and long- 
ing afflict me, 
Till later blow for thee richer and lovelier blooms. 
Now I taste of the sweet: I follow after the greater, 
While he enjoyeth the gold fruit of his harvest himself. 



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POEMS 1881-1885 263 

43 
THE WANDERER AND HIS SHADOW 

Never advance, nor more go back? 
Even for a chamois not a track? 
So here I bide and stoutly clasp 
What eye and hand have left to grasp ! 
Five foot of earth, and dawn ; beneath 
My feet — the world, mankind and death! 

44 
JOYFUL SCIENCE 

This is no book; what profit books? 
Grave-clothes and crypts and coffin-nooks? 
The past is books' accustomed prey: 
Herein there lives eternal day I 

45 
JOYFUL SCIENCE 

This is no book: what profit books? 
Grave-clothes and crypts and coffin-nooks? 
This is a will, this is an undertaking, 
This is an ultimate bridge-breaking, 
This is a sea-wind, an anchor-lifting, 
A puddle foaming, a rudder-shifting; 
Bellow cannons, white heat for the on-stir, 
The sea is laughing too, the monster! 



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264 POEMS 

46 

THE NEW COLUMBUS 

Woman — said Columbus — never 
Trust a Genoese again ! 
Staring in the blue for ever — 
Ever for the farthest fain! 

Strangest now to me is dearest ! 
Genoa . . . sank, is now of yore — 
Heart, be cold ! Firm hand, thou steerest ! 
Sea beyond — but shore? — but shore? — 

Stand we fast and face existence ! 
There is no return from this! 
See: awaiting in the distance 
Us One death, One fame, One bliss t 

47 

LEFT ALONE 

Scream of the crow, 

And creaking flight towards the town: 

Soon will it snow — 

Well who hath shelter to lie down ! 

Numb stand'st thou now, 

Look'st back, ah ! long the road hath been ! 

Fool, why hast thou 

Fled out as winter doth begin? 



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POEMS 1882-1885 265 

Taken the gate 

To a thousand deserts, mute and hoar? 

Who loses that 

Which thou hast lost, halts never more. 

Now stand'st thou pale. 
Condemned to winter-wandering, 
As smoke doth trail 
And aye to colder heavens swing. 

Fly, fowl; croak wide 

Thy song, in fowl-o'-the-desert-wtse ! — 

Go, fool, and hide 

Thy bleeding heart in scorn and ice ! 

Scream of the crow, 

And creaking flight towards the town: 

Soon will it snow — 

Woe who lacks shelter to lie down ! 

48 
ANSWER 
Have pity, God! 

He means, I turn me to my warm 
German abode, 
Close German shelter from the storm! 

My friend, if't be 

Which hems and holds me, just thy Reason ? 

Pity for thee! 

Pity for German Perfect- Reason 1 



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266 POEMS 

49 
VENICE 

On the bridge I stood 

Lately, in gloomy night. 

Came a distant song: 

In golden drops it rolled 

Over the glittering rim away. 

Music, gondolas, lights — 

Drunk, swam far forth in the gloom . . . 

A stringed instrument, my soul, 
Sang, imperceptibly moved, 
A gondola song by stealth, 
Gleaming for gaudy blessedness. 
— Listened any thereto f . . . 

SO 

Said a dame to me in the morning ray, 
All in her shyness shrunk: 
" Sobriety makes thy heart so gay, 
How gay must it be wert thou drunk ? " 

5i 
TO HAFIZ 

(Drinking-Saw : the inquiry of a water-drinker) 

The tavern, Hafiz, thou hast built, 
Is far too big, too wide; 



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POEMS 1883-1885 267 

Swill all the world, can ne'er be swilled 

The drinks thou brew'st inside. 
The fowl called phoenix once (that rare) 

Dwells evermore with thee; 
The mouse who heaved and strangely bare 

A mount — thou'rt almost she! 
Art all and nothing, wine and inn, 

Art phcenix, mount and mouse; 
Thyself upon thyself pours in, 

For ever it ebbs and flows. 
Depth of all summits, art thou not? 

All depth dost seem to be, 
Art drunkenness for every sot, 

Then wherefore wine for — thee? 

52 
TREE IN AUTUMN 

What am I, lumpish dunces, to be shaken, 
Who, blind and happy, stood alone: 
With such a gruesome terror was I taken; 
My dream, my golden dream, is gone! 

Rhinoceroses with trunks of elephants, 
Knock not, as courtesy dictates; 
For fear, I threw enough for all your wants 
Of gold-ripe fruits — upon your pates. 



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268 POEMS 

53 
THE TREE SPEAKS: 

Too lonely have I grown, too high — 
I wait : and yet for what wait I ? 

Of the clouds, too near, I bear the yoke; 
I wait upon the lightning stroke. 

54 

AMONG ENEMIES 
(From a Gipsy pcoverh) 
There the gallows, rope and hooks; 
And the hangman's beard is red; 
People round and poisoned looks — 
Nothing new and nothing dread ! 
Know it well, from fifty sources, 
Laughing in your face I cry: 
Would ye hang me ? Save your forces ! 
Why kill me who cannot die! 

Beggars ye! who hate the tougher 

Man who holds the envied lot; 

True I suffer, true I suffer — 

As to you — ye rot, ye rot ! 

I am breath, dew, all resources, 

After fifty hangings ; why ! 

Would ye hang me ? Save your forces ! 

Why kill me who cannot die ! 



D I O N YS OS-D I T II Y R A MBS r 888 



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55 
OF THE POORNESS OF THE RICHEST 
Ten years out there — 

No moisture hath reached me, 

No wet i' th' wind, no dew of love, 

— A rainless, rainless land , . . 
Entreat I now of my Wisdom, 

Be not avaricious amid this dryness : 
Of itself flow over, of itself drip dew, 
Itself be rain upon the tawny desert! 

One time I commanded 

The clouds to leave my mountain, — 

Once spake I : " More light, ye dark ones ! " 

Now entice them again to come near me: 

Make darkness about me of your udders ! 

— And I will milk you, 
Ye cows of the summit ! 

Milkwarm my Wisdom, sweetest dew of love, 
Squander I over the land. 

Out, out, ye Verities, 

Ye of sombre look ! 

I will not have on my mountain 

Bitter and impatient Verities seen. 



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272 POEMS 

Made golden with laughter 

Truth to-day cometh to me. 

Made sweet by the sun and by love made brown, - 

One ripest fruit will I break from the tree alone. 

To-day I stretch out my hand 

Towards the locks of Chance, 

Clever enough, Chance 

Like a child to lead, to outwit. 

To-day will I be hospitable 

Towards the unwelcome, 

Even to Fate itself will I not be bristly. 

— Zarathustra is no hedgehog. 

Soul of me 

All unsated her restless tongue is, 

Hath already licked at all good things .and bad, 

Hath plunged herself into all depths. 

But ever like a cork 

Ever floats again to the top; 

She tumbles like oil upon tawny billows : 

For the sake of her they call me the Happy One. 

Who are my father and mother? 

Is not my father Prince Prodigal, 

My mother a furtive titter? 

Dotb not the bond of such a pair denote 

Me riddle-beast, 

Monster of light, 

Spendthrift of all the wisdom, Zarathustra? 



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DIONYSOS-DITHYRAMBS 1888 273 

Sick to-day for tenderness, 

A dew-wind, 

Sits Zarathustra waiting, waiting upon his mountain, — 

In his own sap 

Saturated and grown sweety 

Underneath his summit, 

Underneath his ice, 

Weary and happy, 

Creator he upon his seventh day. 

Hush ! 

A Truth is creeping over me 

Like a swollen cloud, — 

Met me with lightnings invisible. 

With mighty, leisurely paces 

Strode her bliss to me : 

Come, come, beloved Truth ! 

Hush! 

It is my Truth ! — 

From faltering eyes, 

From velvety tremors, 

Her glance met mine, 

Lovely, false, a maiden-glance • . . 

She hath guessed the source of my bliss, 

She hath guessed me — ah! what doth she think? — 

Purple lurketh a dragon 

In the abyss of her maiden-glance. 

— Hush, for she speaks, my Truth! — 



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2^4 ' POEMS 

Woe to thee, Zarathustra! 

Thou seemest like one 

That hath swallowed gold; 

Then is there need to rip up thy belly ! . . . 

Too rich thou art, 

Thou spoiler of many ! 

Too many mak'st thou envious, 

Too many mak'st thou poor . . . 

To me myself thy light flings shade, — 

I shiver for it ; out, thou wealthy, 

Out, Zarathustra, out of thy sunlight! . . . 

Would'st like to dower, to give thy superfluous good, 

But thyself art the most superfluous ! 

Be spry, thou wealthy! 

Distribute first thyself, O Zarathustra ! 

Ten years out there — 

And no moisture hath reached thee? 

No wet i' th' wind, no dew of love ? 

But rather tell me who should love thee, 

Thou overwealthy ? 

Thy bliss throws thirst round thee, 

And dearth of love, 

A rainless, rainless land . . . 

No one thanks thee more; 
Thy thanks are to any 
That takes of thee ; 



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DIONYSOS-DITHVRAMBS 1888 275 

Therein I recognise thee, 

Thou overwealthy, 

Thou poorest of the wealthy ! 

Offerest thyself, thy wealth torments thee, — 

Giv'st thyself up, 

Spar'st not thyself, lov'st not thyself; 

The torment doth wring thee all the time, 

Torment of bursting garners, of a bursting heart — 

And no one thanks thee more . . . 

Thou must grow poorer 

Thou wise unwise ! 

Would'st thou be loved. 

One loves only sufferers, 

One only gives love to the hungry : 

Distribute first thyself t O Zarathustra! 

— I am thy Truth . . . 



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56 

AMONG BIRDS OF PREY 

Here, who will go down, 

How swift 

The deeps ingulf him ! 

— Whilst thou, Zarathustra, 

Still lovest the abyss, 

Lov'st it like the Pine-tree? — 

Which strikes its roots, where 
The rock's self shuddering 
Peeps to the deep, — 
Which wavers on abysses 
Where everything 
Must soon descend ; 
In midst impetuous, 
Frantic rolling torrents, 
Patiently bearing, hard, silent, 
Alone . . . 

Alone ! 

Who dareth then, 

Be here a guest, 

Tky guest to be? . . . 
276 



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DIONYSOS-DITHYRAMBS 1888 277 

A bird of prey perhaps; 

That well may hang 

To the steadfast endurer, 

Malicious to its hair, 

With peals of wild laughter, 

With bird-of-prey laughter . . . 

Wherefore so steadfast? 

— Gruesome he mocketh: 

He needeth have pinions who loveth the abyss . . . 

One must not hang suspended, 

Like thee, thou hanged one I — 

O Zarathustra, 
Gruesomest Nimrod ! 
Late hunter before God, 
The snare of all the virtues, 
Bolt of the wicked t — 

Now 

Of thyself pursued, 

Of thyself art the booty, 

Thyself by thyself pierced through . . . 

Now — 

Lonely with self, 

Twofold in thine own knowledge, 

Among a hundred mirrors 

In thyself seen false, 

Among a hundred memories 

Uncertain, 



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278 POEMS 

And tired at every wound, 
And cold at every frost, 
Strangled in thine own toils, 
Self-knower ! 
Self-hangman I 

Why bind'st thou thyself 

With the toils of thy wisdom ? 

Enticest thyself 

To the garden of the ancient serpent? 

Why slink'st thou into 

Thy self— thy self? . . . 

A sick man now 

Who art sick with snake poison, 

A prisoner now 

Who hast drawn the hardest lot : 

In thine own mine, 

Bent double, toiling, 

Hollowed out within thyself, 

Digging into thyself, 

And clumsily, 

stiff, 

A corpse — , 

By hundred burdens overpowered, 

Overloaded by thyself, 

A knowing one, 

A self revealed} . . . 

The doctor Zarathustra ! . . . 



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DIONYSOS-DITHYRAMBS 1888 279 

Thou so lightest the heaviest load ; 

Hast found thyself, 

Hast not laid thyself aside . . , 

Lowering, 

Cowering, 

One who already stands no more erect ! 
Thou and thy grave alike grow mine, 
Thou spirit ill-grown! . . . 

And lately so proud, 

On all the stilts of pride like thine ! 

Lately the hermit without a God, 

The lone hermit with the Devil, 

The scarlet Prince of all audacity ! . . . 

Now 

Between two nothings 

Huddled up, 

Interrogation, 

A weary riddle, 

A riddle for birds-ofprey — 

— Thee will they soon unriddle, 

They hunger now for thy undoing, 

They flutter round thee now, their riddle, 

Round thee, thou Hanged One! . . , 

O Zarathustra ! 

Self-knower ! . . . 

Self-Hangman ! . . . 



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57 
THE SUN SINKS 



No long while thirstest thou now, 

Consuming heart! 
A promise is in the air, 
From unaccustomed lips it blows to me ; 

— The great refreshing comes . . . 

Hot my sun stood above me at hottest midday: 
Greeting to you, that ye come, 

Ye hurrying breezes, 
Cool spirits of the afternoon ! 

The air flows strange and clean. 
Squints not with slanting 

Seductive eye 
The night to me ? . . . 
Stand strong, my dauntless heart ! 
Ask not ; wherefore ? 

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DIONYSOS-DITHYRAMBS 1888 28 1 

2 

Day of my life ! 
The sun doth sink. 
Now lies the polished 

Flood all gilded. 
Warm breatheth the rock. 
Did Happiness sleep 
On his breast, perchance, his midday sleep ? — 

In shimmering green 
Sports Happiness along the brown abyss. 

Day of my life! 
To eve it goes! 
Thine eye already 

Gleams half smothered, 
Now streams from thy dew 

Gushing of tears, 
Runs silent over silver seas 
Purple of thy love, 
Thy ultimate) hesitating blessedness . . . 

3 
Joyfulness, goldenness, come! 

Thou most secret, 
Thou the most sweet foretaste of death ! 
— Ran I too swiftly my road ? 
Now first, when the foot became tired, 
Thy glance doth come to fetch me, 

Thy happiness to fetch me, 



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282 POEMS 

All round only waves, mirth. 
What aye was sore 

Sank in a blue forgetfulness, 

Idle my boat lies now. 

Storm and Course — how it unlearnt that I 
Hope and longing were drowned, 
Smooth tie the soul and the sea. 

Sabbath of loneliness! 
Never felt I 

Nearer me sweet security, 

Warmer the glance o' th' sun. 

— Gloweth not even my icy peak? 
Silver, light, a fish, 
My skiff floats out and away. 



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58 

LAST COMMAND 

To die, 

As once I saw him die — , 

The friend, who lightnings and glances 

Into my darksome youth divinely flung ; 

— Wilful and deep, 

In the strife a dancer, — 

Among warriors the gayest, 

Among victors the heaviest, 

On his own fate another fate assuming, 

Hard, reflective, prospective : — 

Shuddering because he conquered, 
Exulting for it, that he conquered dying: 

Commanding, as he died, 

— That one destroy was his commanding 

To die, 

As once I saw him die: 

Conquering, destroying . . . 

383 



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59 
THE BEACON 

Here, where between the seas the island grew, 

An altar stone towered sheer from earth, 

Here Zarathustra, under blackened heavens, 

Ignited to himself a beacon fire, — 

Signal of fire for battered sailors, 

Signal of question for such as answer questions . 

The flame with white-grey belly thrusteth far 
— Into the cold its tongue of strong desire, 
To ever clearer heights it writhes its neck — 
A snake for its impatience stiffly reared : 
Such the sign I posted to mark my place. 

But my soul itself is this very flame: 
Insatiable towards new distances, 
Burning upwards, upwards with her steady gleam. 
Why fled Zarathustra from beast and mortal? 
Why eschewed he clear all continents? 

284 



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DIONYSOS-DITHYRAMBS 1888 285 

Six lonelinesses knew he well, — 

Till the sea's self for him was all too peopled, 

The island gave him foothold, he grew flame upon 

the mountain. 
Towards the Sabbath of loneliness 
Casts he querulous the line over his head. 

The battered sailors! Dust of ancient stars I 
Ye seas of the future! Unexpounded heavens! 
To all the lonely ones cast I now the angle: 
Make answer to th' impatience of the flame, 
Catch for me, fisher upon the mountains, 
My ultimate Sabbath of loneliness ! 



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6o 
FAME AND ETERNITY 

i 
How long already sitt'st thou 

Upon thy mischance ? 
Take heed, lest thou should'st hatch me 

An egg, 

A cockatrice's egg 
From out thy long complaint. 

Why creeps Zarathustra along the mountain? 

Mistrustful, suspicious, gloomy, 
A sullen lurker — 
But sudden, a flash, 
Bright, frightful, a stroke 
'Gainst heaven out of the abyss: 
— The mountain itself convulseth 
Its very entrails . . . 

Where hate and lightning 

Grew one, a curse, — 

On the mountain now dwells Zarathustra's scorn, 

A thunder-cloud he creepeth his own road. 

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DIONYSOS-DITHVRAMBS i883 287 

Conceal himself, he who but one last blanket hath ! 
In bed with you, ye tenderlings! 
Now bellow thunders over vaulted places, 
Now tremble all the joists and buttresses, 
Now start the lightnings, the brimstone-coloured Veri- 
ties — 
Zarathustra bans . . . 



This same money, with which 

All the world acquits, 

Fame, — 

With gloved hands I seize this minted money, I 

With loathing cast and tread it under me. 

Who would be paid then ? 
The venal would . . . 
Who is cheap, grabs 

With his fat hands 

Towards the all-the-world metal-clink fame! 

Would? $t thou buy them? 

They are all to be bought 

But bid thou much ! 

Jingle a well-filled pocket! 

— Thou strength* nest else, 

Thou strength'nest else their virtue , . . 



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288 POEMS 

They are all so virtuous. 

Fame and virtue — rhyme together. 

As long as the world lives, 

It pays, virtuous tattling, 

With fame rattling, — 

The world thrives upon this din . . . 

In presence of the virtuous 

Will I guilty be, 

Guilty called with every greatest wrong! 

In presence of fame's trumpet-blowers 

My ambition becomes a worm, — 

Amid such people I only wish 

Lowest of all to be . . . 

This same money, with which 

All the world acquits, 

Fame, — 

With gloved hands I seize this minted money, I 

With loathing cast and tread it under me. 



3 

Hush! — 

Of greatest things — I see the greatest \ - 

(Should one be either 

JDumb, or talk mighty ; 

Talk mighty, my delighted Wisdom! 



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DIONYSOS-DITHYRAMBS 1888 289 

I see there aloft 

Roll seas of brightness, 

— O night, O silence, O death-silent sound ! . . . 
I see where a beacon, — 

From furthest distance 

Sinks slowly sparkling a star figure to me . . . 

Highest star of being! 
Table of the eternal image ! 
Thou com'st to me? — 

Which none hath beholden, 
Thy unspeakable beauty, — 
What ? it fleeth not before my look ? — 

Shield of Necessity! 
Table of the eternal image! 

— But thou knowest it: 
What all men hate, 
What / alone love : 

— That thou'rt eternal 7 
That thou'rt necessary! 
My love ignites itself 
Eternal only at Necessity. 

Shield of Necessity ! 
Highest star of being ! 

— That no wish attains, 
That no nay hath stained, 
Eternal yea of being, 
Ever am I thy yea : 

Because I love thee, O Eternity! 

Ci OOSle 



GENERAL. BQQKBIHPINO CO. y, 

sust 005 is. bOao 



OUAUTY CONTnoL Mark 



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